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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Tillage and Compost Affect Yield of Corn, Soybean, and Wheat and Soil Fertility

Authors
item Singer, Jeremy
item Kohler, Keith
item Liebman, Matt - IA STATE UNIVERSITY
item Richard, Tom - IA STATE UNIVERSITY
item Cambardella, Cynthia
item Buhler, Doug - MICHIGAN STATE UNIV

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 10, 2003
Publication Date: March 17, 2004
Citation: SINGER, J.W., KOHLER, K.A., LIEBMAN, M., RICHARD, T.L., CAMBARDELLA, C.A., BUHLER, D.D. TILLAGE AND COMPOST AFFECT YIELD OF CORN, SOYBEAN, AND WHEAT AND SOIL FERTILITY. AGRONOMY JOURNAL. 2004. V. 96. P. 531-537.

Interpretive Summary: Applying organic matter amendments to cropland reduces requirements for synthetic fertilizer and may eliminate yield differences between conventional and minimum tillage. Recent data indicates no-till corn acreage in the Midwest has not increased in recent years. Increased on-site nutrient loading from concentrated animal feeding operations prompted an investigation into alternative uses for manure produced in various livestock management systems. Swine compost applications increased corn and soybean yield in no-till by 10% compared to no compost. Moldboard and chisel plow corn yields were similar with or without compost. Soybean yield was 5% greater in moldboard plow with compost compared to no compost, although no difference occurred in chisel plow. Compost amendment increased wheat yield 4% compared to no compost across all tillage regimes. Averaged across all crops and tillage systems, soil amended with compost had higher organic matter levels compared to no amendment. Compost application for soil organic matter enhancement must be balanced with phosphorus inputs to minimize the potential for excessive soil phosphorus accumulation. Nevertheless, corn and soybean producers who apply swine compost can achieve similar yields in no-till and conventional tillage.

Technical Abstract: Applying organic matter amendments to cropland reduces requirements for synthetic fertilizer and may eliminate yield differences between conventional and minimum tillage. The objectives of this research were to determine how tillage and composted swine (Sus scrofa L.) manure affected yield of corn (Zea mays L.), soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr], and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), and soil concentrations of organic matter (OM), P, and K, using a C-based compost application criterion. A corn-soybean-wheat/clover (Trifolium spp.) rotation, in all phases, was initiated in 1998 in plots that had been managed with moldboard plow, chisel plow, or no-till techniques since 1988. Corn and soybean yields were affected by a tillage by amendment interaction. Compost increased corn and soybean yield in no-till by 10% compared to no compost. Moldboard and chisel plow corn yields were similar with or without compost. Soybean yield was 5% greater in moldboard plow with compost compared to no compost, although no difference occurred in chisel plow. Compost amendment increased wheat yield 4% compared to no compost across all tillage regimes. Averaged across all crops and tillage systems, soil amended with compost had higher OM concentrations compared to no amendment (65 vs. 59 g kg-1). Although compost addition increased corn and soybean yield in no-till and increased OM concentrations, compost application for soil OM enhancement must be balanced with P input to minimize the potential for excessive soil P accumulation. Nevertheless, corn and soybean producers who apply swine compost can achieve similar yields in no-till and conventional tillage.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014
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