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Contour tillage of corn under New Jersey conditions in relation to soil and water conservation crop yields, and various soil properties

Knoblauch, H.C.
Agronomy journal 1942 v.34 no.3 pp. 263-269
Zea mays, corn silage, tillage, slope, soil conservation, water conservation, loam soils, soil erosion, runoff, rain, losses from soil, drilling, soil water, nitrogen content, soil organic matter, New Jersey
Soil and water losses, silage corn yields, soil-moisture tension conditions, and changes in total nitrogen and carbon are presented for planting on the contour vs. planting with the slope on Dutchess loam soil in northern New Jersey. Soil losses for a 3-year period of 3.6 tons per acre under contour planting compared with 24.9 tons per acre under up-and-down-hill planting were found to be highly significant. Corn planted on the contour on the same land for 4 years in succession produced an average annual yield on the green weight basis of 11.37 tons per acre, while plots planted up and down hill gave a yield of 10.00 tons, Tensiometer readings suggested a probable relationship between increased moisture content under contour tillage and higher silage corn yields. Soil nitrogen and organic matter showed a marked decrease during the period of study under both systems of management. Decreases in soil nitrogen indicate the importance of using a cover crop in connection with the efficient utilization of nitrogen under both systems of management as well as for providing soil protection during the vulnerable winter months. In order to obtain maximum conservation of soil resources and highest yields, silage corn should be planted on the contour and limited to land in a long grass or legume rotation. The growing of corn more than 1 year in succession on the same land is to be discouraged.