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Fluid Journal : Fluid Journal 1999-2001
2 Fluid Journal Winter 1999 TABLE 3. Building soil tilth with crop residue and fertilizer. Possible Addition Estimate of Net Tons Dry in Organic Matter Additional Nutrients Corn Yield Residue, Reserve (%/A) Required (lbs/A**) (bu/A) Ears Removed* (0-6" Zone) N P2O5 S 160 3.9 0.14 862712 200 5.2 0.18 114 36 16 260 6.9 0.25 152 48 21 300 8.3 0.30 183 58 25 * Including tops, roots, less amount of residue needed to control erosion. * * Additional amounts of nutrients for residue only. Other nutrients would be needed to produce the estimated yield goal. FIGURE 1. Proper water management program to grow a 300 bu/A crop in the Corn Belt (assuming a 10 bu/inch of precipitation). bushels of dryland corn in the Corn Belt. This level of production is no pipe dream, as we've pointed out in other issues of the Fluid Journal. Note that the soil must hold at least 10 inches of water. The computations are, of course, estimates that would be quite different if the year was not "normal." Though it has been a long time since we've had a normal year, the illustration should suffice for purposes of this discussion. Patience required Rebuilding soil structure to achieve MSP is not a one- or two-year project. It is a long-term commitment that takes 10 to 15 years. It involves using residue from a corn crop to collect water and control erosion. Much of the residue is also incorporated into the soil with fertilizer that helps digest the residue into organic matter. Deep tillage finally moves the organic matter down into the soil profile. The end result is higher organic matter changes soil properties, increasing water-holding capacity. tilth and infiltration rate. The higher organic matter also provides additional nutrients to the crop during the growing season. Once organic matter is worked into the subsoil, roots can proliferate into the deeper profile, making higher plant populations possible. The payoff is higher yields and WUE. Table 3 shows how a farmer could build soil quality by using residue of the corn crop.
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