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Maize (Zea mays L.) yield and soil properties as affected by no tillage in the black soils of China

Liu, Shuang, Zhang, Xing-Yi, Kravchenko, Yuriy, Iqbal, M. Anjum
Acta agriculturæ Scandinavica 2015 v.65 no.6 pp. 554-565
Mollisols, Zea mays, climate, corn, grain yield, latitude, no-tillage, plows, reduced tillage, rotary tillage, soil density, soil depth, soil temperature, soil water, soil water content, China
A four-year tillage experiment on maize was conducted in the high latitude region of Northeast of China. The main objective of this study was to investigate the effects of different field tillage practices on maize grain yield, soil physical properties, and soil water and temperature dynamics in Northeast of China. The tillage practices included moldboard plow tillage (MOT), rotary tillage (ROT), reduced tillage (RET), combined tillage (COT), and no tillage (NOT). The surface soil water content at depths of 0–20 cm was higher under NOT compared with other tillage practices, but not different at the deeper soil depths in 2011. The soil temperatures under NOT and RET were lower than those under moldboard plow tillage and ROT at depths of 5 and 15 cm, respectively, measured at 9:00 am in 2005. From the hourly dynamics of soil temperature, the differences among the tillage practices mainly appeared during the daytime (from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm). Among all the practices, the average daily soil temperature under ROT was the highest, while that under NOT was the lowest. MOT, ROT, and RET had higher soil accumulative infiltration compared with NOT and COT. The surface soil bulk density under NOT was higher than or equal to that under the other four tillage practices. The maize yields under NOT were the lowest among all the tillage practices for three years straight. Meanwhile, the yields under MOT were the highest, which were about 47%, 61%, and 38% higher than those under NOT. NOT practice is not recommended for use in spring-planted maize under the high latitude humid cool climate Mollisol region in Northeast of China.