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Fluid Journal : Fluid Journal 2002-2004
Spring 2004 Strip Till: A Viable Option? Ms. L. Ferdinand, Drs. R. Lamond, B.Gordon, K. Jannsen, and Mr. C. Godsey Summary: Results to date from field studies conducted at three Kansas locations in 2003 indicate that strip- till provides for warmer temperatures early in the season, resulting in better early-season growth and higher grain yields than in no-till. Fertilizer applied during the fall strip-till performed similarly to fertilizer applied at planting where fall strip-till was done. Kansas research shows strip-till produced better early-season growth and higher corn grain yields in 2003 trials. Fluid Journal 1 Conservation-till practices leave residue from the previous crops on the soil surface, reduce soil erosion, and decrease trips across the field with heavy tillage equipment. Although no-till provides soil and water conservation benefits to producers, the cooler, wetter soil conditions found in no-till systems result in potential problems for planting and establishing crops. Crop residues affect the soil surface energy balance by providing insulation and reflective properties. Thus, covered and bare surfaces have different energy balances. Soil under a thick residue layer stays cooler and wetter in comparison to bare soil. The inherent residue layer associ- ated with no-till contributes to cooler temperatures in the seed zone at spring planting. Lower soil temperatures negatively affect seedling emergence and early-season growth, especially with early planting dates. Corn root growth increased fivefold when soil temperature increased from 63o F to 88o F. If no-till systems are limited by crop residues on the soil surface, then seed- row residue removal should lead to corn growth similar to that of tilled systems. Strip-till provides an ideal combination of no-till with conventional-till. Residue removal from within the row should allow for rates of development that are similar to that of conventional-till. Maintaining a concentration of residue in the inter-row will allow the no-till advantages of lower soil water evapora- tion and reduced runoff to be salvaged. Strip-till also offers the option of applying fertilizer nutrients during the fall strip-till operation. A second option is to apply nutrients in the spring at planting after creating the strip-till in the fall. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 4/12/2003 4/19/2003 4/26/2003 5/3/2003 5/10/2003 5/17/2003 5/24/2003 5/31/2003 6/7/2003 6/14/2003 Temperature (F) Strip-till No-till Figure 1. Daily soil temperatures at seeding depth, Manhattan.
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