Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Preventing Soil Erosion In Continuous Corn

Date:
January 12, 2009
Source:
American Society of Agronomy
Summary:
The removal of corn residue for the purpose of creating cellulosic ethanol requires changes in tillage for increased efficiency and protection against soil erosion, and a recent study focused on understanding how residue removal and tillage system affect the response of continuous corn to nitrogen fertilization.

With recent increase in the cost of energy and subsequent explorations into alternative energy sources, the increased harvest of corn residue for cellulosic ethanol production is likely in the future. This may be especially true in fields where corn is grown continuously, in part because perennially high residue amounts favor annual harvests, and also because corn residue left on the soil surface is a source of inoculum for corn diseases.

Removal of corn residue, however, may require changes in tillage for increased efficiency and protection against soil erosion. Yet, the amount of N fertilizer needed to optimize corn grain yield can vary among tillage systems due to differences in soil N cycling. Thus, understanding the response of continuous corn to fertilizer N when residue is removed in different tillage systems will be necessary for optimizing N use in such systems.

A recent article in the November-December issue of Agronomy Journal summarized the results of field experiments conducted during 2006 and 2007 at four locations in Illinois, which focused on understanding how residue removal and tillage system affect the response of continuous corn to N fertilization. The research was also presented in New Orleans, LA at the American Society of Agronomy annual meeting in November 2007.

On dark prairie-derived soils with abundant rainfall, the authors, Jeffrey Coulter of the University of Minnesota and Emerson Nafziger of the University of Illinois, observed that the economically optimum N fertilizer rate (EONR) for continuous corn was reduced by 13% with full or partial removal of corn residue when compared to no removal of residue. This was consistent for both chisel plow and no-tillage systems. Averaged across N fertilizer rates in these environments, corn grain yield was similar between no-till and chisel plow tillage systems with full removal of residue. However, with partial and no removal of residue, yields were 5 and 12% greater with the chisel plow than with the no-tillage system, respectively.

“Higher yields with tillage when residue was returned in these environments were likely due to improved seedling growth resulting from warmer soil temperatures,” said Coulter.

These results show that on productive soils with adequate rainfall, removal of residue has, at least in the short term, the potential to lower N fertilizer requirements. However, the authors warn that this advantage needs to be balanced against the need to retain adequate residue to maintain soil C and protect against erosion. While no-till continuous corn worked well with full removal of residue in these highly productive environments in the central Corn Belt, Coulter says that “no-till continuous corn may be less applicable in the northern Corn Belt when residue is removed because of heavier soils and a shorter growing season.”

In his new role as a corn cropping systems agronomist in Minnesota, Coulter believes that strip-till continuous corn might be a viable alternative to no-till when residue is removed. Research is ongoing at the Universities of Minnesota and Illinois to identify best management practices with regard to economic and environmental sustainability when corn residue is removed in corn-intensive cropping systems.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society of Agronomy. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Society of Agronomy. "Preventing Soil Erosion In Continuous Corn." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090112121826.htm>.
American Society of Agronomy. (2009, January 12). Preventing Soil Erosion In Continuous Corn. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090112121826.htm
American Society of Agronomy. "Preventing Soil Erosion In Continuous Corn." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090112121826.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins