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Fluid Journal : Fall 2014
12 The Fluid Journal Fall 2014 Summary: In this project, we assessed the effectiveness of stover removal for increasing corn yields in intensively managed and conventionally managed environments, as well as nutrient management consequences of stover removal. Intensively managed environments consisted of higher plant populations, increased nutrient fertilizer application, insect protection traits, and application of fungicides. Conventionally managed environments consisted of more common planting populations, less intense fertilizer applications, no insect protection traits (a granular soil insecticide was applied at planting in both environments), and no fungicide application. Stover accumulation has been shown to reduce corn grain yield in continuous corn production systems, leading to suggestions that high corn prices, which result in more continuous corn production, will also result in widespread implementation of stover removal practices. However, effects of stover removal on soil fertility requirements and soil organic matter levels are a concern and must be considered when growers decide to remove stover from continuous corn fields. The Crop Physiology Laboratory at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign has conducted experiments over the last 20 years to identify the principal factors that result in increased corn yields. The seven factors found to have the greatest impact on corn grain yields are: • Weather • Nitrogen • Hybrid • Previous crop The Fluid Journal • Official Journal of the Fluid Fertilizer Foundation • Fall 2014 • Vol. 22, No. 4, Issue #86 Drs. Laura F. Gentry and Fred E. Below Study shows that using proven technologies increased yields. • Plant population • Tillage • Growth regulators. Based on this information, an “omission treatment” experimental design was created to test five of the identified factors (nitrogen, other crop nutrients, genetic traits, population, and growth regulators) for their individual and cumulative effects on yield. In 2011, we added three more factors (crop rotation, residue management, and reduced tillage) to the omission treatment experimental design in an effort to identify conservation practices that maintain or increase production in high-yielding corn production systems. Compared to corn monoculture, corn-soybean rotations reduce N fertilizer application, reduce pest pressure, and are generally thought to promote a more diverse soil biological community to reduce disease susceptibility and serve as a reservoir for gene conservation. Research and anecdotal evidence have also shown that corn following soybeans generally produces greater yields than corn following corn. Research by the Crop Physiology Lab indicates that the primary agents of yield reduction in continuous corn systems are nitrogen (N) availability, residue accumulation, and weather. Despite issues associated with corn monoculture, this system is likely to become more prevalent in corn production systems in the foreseeable future as a result of increased demand for corn. Although frequently considered a poor practice for soil quality considerations, partial stover removal can be performed without degrading soil quality or reducing soil organic matter when used in the appropriate environment and with proper management. Other research has also shown that compared to above-ground corn stover, corn roots are a more long- term stable source of carbon and, thus, better for soil carbon sequestration than stover. In addition to testing the sustainability of removing corn stover in continuous corn systems, we also assess how removing stover affects the Increasing Corn Yields Via Stover Removal Using Fluids ▼ DOWNLOAD