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SWEEP Report #41

Evaluation of Row Crop Planter Modifications
for Corn Production within
Conservation Tillage Systems

Researchers: 
G.A. Stewart, T.J. Vyn, Dept. of Crop Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ont.

Executive Summary

Evaluation Summary (Tech. Transfer Report Summaries)

View / Download Report in pdf format (61 KB)

Associated SWEEP/LSP Research

 

 

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Completed: March, 1992

Key Words:

no-till, corn, residue cover, silt loam, loam, planter, coulters, soil moisture, bulk density, residue-clearing devices, moldboard plow, yield, crop growth

Executive Summary

Field experiments were conducted in 1990 and 1991 on a silt loam soil at Elora and a loam soil at Woodstock to evaluate various row crop planter modifications for corn production. The study included a total of six location/years; three where the previous crop was grain corn and three where the previous crop had been winter wheat underseeded to red clover. Experimental treatments examined at each site included conventional tillage (spring moldboard plow and secondary tillage) plus a wide range of coulters and residue-clearing devices mounted on the planter so as to prepare a seedbed without any prior tillage.

Soil measurements included surface residue cover, soil macroporosity, bulk density, soil moisture and penetrometer resistance. Corn crop response was determined by measuring emergence rates, early season dry matter production, days to 50% corn flowering and final grain yields.

Results indicated that when winter wheat + red clover was the previous crop residue removal from the row area was accomplished more effectively with devices specifically designed for this task (ie. disc furrowers, spoked wheels, etc.) than when coulters were used independently. Following grain corn, however, fluted coulters alone were efficient in removing residue from the row area.

Soil physical property measurements indicated that in the seedbed (depth: 2.5-7.5 cm) fluted coulters resulted in penetrometer resistances, macroporosities and bulk densities that were generally not different from those obtained by moldboard tillage. The strict use of residue clearing devices resulted in seedbed soil strengths and densities which were greater than those resulting from the use of fluted coulters and in some cases slot tillage.

Differences in planting depth variability were generally not significant, however, the addition of residue clearing devices did tend to result in more uniform seed placement following wheat + red clover.

Early season corn dry matter accumulation generally resulted in higher values for the conventional tillage system compared to any other zero-tillage treatment. At some sites there was a trend for those zero-tillage systems which employed fluted coulters to result in greater dry matter accumulation than when residue clearing devices were used.

Differences in grain corn yields were only significant in one of the six site/years. Following winter wheat + red clover there appears to be a yield advantage for the use of fluted coulters over strict residue removal. In general, fairly wide ranging changes in planting techniques (ie. hand planting, modified zero tillage, moldboard) did not result in yield differences, perhaps due to generally above average growing conditions. Results, therefore, should be interpreted with some caution.

 

Evaluation Summary

(From Technology Transfer Report Summaries - A. Hayes, L. Cruickshank, Co-Chairs)

The objective of this study was to evaluate row crop planter modifications in terms of their effect on seedbed conditions and corn growth and yield in order to assist producers in selecting planter attachments for conservation tillage systems.

The study was conducted over two growing seasons on silt loam and loam soils. The previous crops on the sites were grain corn and winter wheat which had been underseeded to red clover. The treatments included moldboard plow, hand planted, slot, disc furrowers (one or two sets per row), wire brushes, spoked wheels, 2 fluted coulters (1" or 2"), 3 fluted coulters, coulters + V sweep, coulters + wire brushes, coulters + spoked wheels and coulters + disc furrowers.

Winter wheat + red clover residue was removed from the row more effectively with row clearing devices (ie. disc furrowers, spoked wheels, etc.) than with coulters alone. Following grain corn, however, fluted coulters alone were efficient in removing residue from the row area.

In the seedbed (depth: 2.5-7.5 cm) fluted coulters resulted in penetrometer resistances, macroporosities and bulk densities that were generally not different from those obtained by moldboard tillage. The use of residue clearing devices alone resulted in greater penetrometer resistances and bulk densities than fluted coulter measurements. Although not significant the use of residue clearing devices did tend to result in more uniform seed placement in winter wheat + red clover residue.

Corn yields were only significantly different in one of the six site/years. The difference there showed a yield advantage where fluted coulters were used in wheat + red clover residue. In general none of the treatments used resulted in yield differences. This may have been due to the generally above average growing conditions. Results therefore should be interpreted with some caution.

Comments:

The study was well done but required more time for a thorough investigation of the different modifications. Specific recommendations could not be made about the different methods examined as they all resulted in similar yields. These results are contrary to earlier work done by this researcher where slot planting did not perform well.

Associated SWEEP/LSP Research:

  • SWEEP Report #21 - Efficiency of Residue Management for Providing Optimal Corn Growing Conditions in a Non-Tilled Sandy Loam
  • SWEEP Report #39 - Report on "Tye-Drill" Modifications for Sowing Soybeans on Commercial Farms Under No-Till Conditions

Future Research: ( ) indicates reviewers suggestion for priority, A - high, C - low.

(C) This study should be continued on a wider variety of soil types over several years.

 

 

 

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Created: 05-28-1996
Last Revised: Thursday, May 19, 2011 03:16:31 PM