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Soil Temperature, Soil Water, and No-Till Corn Development Following In-Row Residue Removal

M.-C. Fortin
Agronomy journal 1993 v.85 no.3 pp. 571-576
height, plant characteristics, Zea mays, no-tillage, crop residues, dry environmental conditions, soil temperature, soil water content, vegetative growth, sexual reproduction, heading, crop yield, grains, conventional tillage, crop residue management, arid zones, Ontario
In northern areas where corn (Zea mays L.) is grown, no-till plants develop more slowly and, consequently, could be more susceptible to soil water limitations than plants under conventional tillage. This study was conducted to determine if removing in-row residues by pushing them into the interrow can solve problems related to no-till corn development in droughty soils. Residues were removed to produce a 30-cm band of bare soil along the corn row. This bare row no-tillage (BRNT) treatment was compared with conventional tillage (C), regular no-tillage (NT), and bare no-tillage (BNT) for plant development, plant height, crop yield, soil water content in the upper soil layers, and seed zone temperature. The BRNT seed zone temperature was higher than that of NT and similar to that of C and BNT from emergence to the V6 stage. Accordingly, BRNT plants reached the V6 stage 1.3 and 3.7 d later than C while NT reached the V6 stage 5.0 and 7.2 d later than C in 1990 and 1991, respectively. In 1991, NT plants were further retarded by hot and dry conditions despite the fact that interrow soil water was higher in treatments with interrow residue cover. Height differences among treatments were related to developmental differences. Despite considerable changes in soil temperature, water, developmental rate, and height of plants among treatments during the vegetative stage, reproductive yield was not affected by tillage and residue treatments. Contribution from Agric. Canada, Harrow Res. Stn. and Centre for Land and Biological Resources Res. (no. 92-64).