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Fluid Journal : Fluid Journal 1996-1998
2 Fluid Journal Summer 1997 fertilization in all tillage systems except chisel. It is possible that some lack of response to fall row fertilization in the chisel system was due to the disruption of the band caused by spring disking, although this would not explain why the spring 2 x 2 placement did not increase yield. Spring zone- tillage tended to be inferior to fall zone- tillage. The row fertilizer response in the no- till and zone-tillage systems, while mixed, lead me to recommend a spring 2 x 2 placement over fall treatments. The small amount of material applied in this study (approximately 9 gallons/A of 7-21-7) would not likely reduce the planting efficiency. The initial P and K soil tests at this location were both in the excessively high range for corn, under Wisconsin conditions. Perhaps at lower soil test levels a program that combined both fall and spring banded treatments would have been optimal. Residue levels drop Residue levels, as affected by tillage, were similar in all years of the study. In 1995, for example, no-till left 86 percent residue, compared to 73 percent for fall zone and 77 percent for spring zone. Chisel plow left only 24 percent residue. The methodology used provided a residue profile across the row, as well as the average residue level for each tillage treatment. Residue distribution in the fall zone-tillage treatment was wider than that found in the spring zone-tillage treatment possibly because of the drier condition of the soil and residue in the fall that allowed equipment to move more residue. Residue clearing treatments left between 30 and 50 percent in the row area. The difference between the average residue levels for the zone-tillage treatments was not significant. Residue levels for both chisel and no-till were typical for those systems. Viable alternative For growers disenchanted with no-till systems in the cooler climates of Wisconsin because of crop production losses, three years of research have demonstrated that fall zone-tillage can offer a high residue alternative to a chisel plow system. To remove any guesswork, measurements over the three-year study at the 2- and 4-inch soil depths also verified again the cooler conditions normally experienced during the early growing season under no-till in Wisconsin. Although economics were not considered in this study, considerable savings would be realized in the zone treatment because of at least two fewer trips over the field compared to chisel plow. Furthermore, the zone treatment would be more appropriate than a low- residue chisel system for use on erodible land. Dr. Wolkowski is associate scientist, Department of Soil Science, University of Wisconsin.
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