Crop Production with a No-Traffic Tillage System
Researcher: D.S. Young, RCAT
- To enhance and maintain the quality of the soils of southwestern
Ontario, and find cost effective crop rotations which maintain soil
quality and reduce soil degradation.
- To study the effects of different compaction and tillage practices
- yields of corn
- selected soil chemical and physical properties
- the change in selected plant nutrients found in the soil
- the change in uptake of different nutrients by corn.
- To provide a better understanding of soil compaction which could
allow producers to alter traffic patterns over the soil surface
to reduce the area compacted.
Soil Property Summary
- The annual post-harvest imposition of a 12 tonne axle load prior
to fall tillage operations caused significantly higher penetrometer
resistance within and below the plow layer of soils whether conventional
or reduced tillage practices were employed. Differences in penetrometer
resistance in the plow layer between load and no load situations
were greater for zero tillage than for either chisel or moldboard.
- Tillage systems and resulting plow layer soil conditions had
little effect on the depth to which repeated axle loadings affected
subsoil penetrometer resistance. Penetrometer resistance below 35
cm depth was not significantly affected by the axle load.
- On the loam soil, soil moisture in the 0 to 15 cm depth interval
was often significantly lower when all traffic was eliminated by
the use of a wide span vehicle. These differences were more evident
during periods of lower than average precipitation.
- Controlling traffic did appear to result in lower soil bulk
densities than more random traffic patterns on the silt loam and
clay loam sites. Soil bulk densities were significantly lower for
FPU treatments for at least one depth at each site when averaged
across all tillage systems but not within any specific main tillage
treatment. However, on the loam site, differences in bulk density
were found only among tillage systems.
Plant Effects Summary
- The use of a wide-span controlled traffic system generally resulted
in poorer early growth of corn within chisel or moldboard systems.
This was in some cases due to reduced soil moisture levels in the
seedbed compared to wheel trafficked plots.
- In some instances later season corn growth within the controlled
traffic system was great enough to compensate for any early season
lag. This may have been due to superior sub-surface soil conditions
such as lower penetrometer resistance.
- The typical 10-15% yield reduction in corn yields often experienced
with zero tillage compared to conventional tillage (when corn follows
corn) was not overcome by eliminating traffic from the plot area.
- Differences in final grain yield among traffic systems were
generally not significant.
- Soybean yields (in the one site/year) were equally unaffected
by tillage or traffic systems.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011 12:51:16 PM