Is Strip-till a Useful Soil Management Tool for Wisconsin Corn and Soybean Production?

Shawn P. Conley, Department of Agronomy, and Damon Smith, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Strip-till reduced penetration resistance in the root zone of strip-till rows.
  • Soybean seed yield was similar between the strip-till 30” row and no-till 15” row spacings.
  • Strip-till and banded fertilizer increased corn grain yield.
  • Crop rotation increased corn plant population and yield.

Wisconsin corn and soybean growers have steadily improved grain and seed yield over the past decade; however, they are annually challenged with yield suppressing conditions such as cold, dense soils, difficult early season planting conditions, and highly erodible landscapes. To resolve these issues, many growers utilize tillage as a soil management technique. However, the combination of tillage and erodible land-scapes can increase erosion (Seta et al., 1993). Current recommendations for corn and soybean production in a corn/soybean (CS) rotation in Wisconsin are to utilize no-till 30” and 15” row spacings, respectively. Due to a perceived yield plateau to row crop no-till soybean and corn, growers in Wisconsin have become increasingly interested in strip-till as a management tool to improve early season planting conditions while maintaining soil structure and health (Allmaras and Dowdy, 1985). By combining strip-till with different commonly used corn and soybean management practices, the objectives were: 1) quantify the effect of strip-till, row spacing (soybean only), crop rotation (corn only), fertilizer placement, and in-furrow fungicide on corn and soybean plant population, canopy coverage, and grain or seed yield, 2) evaluate strip-till, row spacing, fertilizer placement, and in-furrow fungicide on soil temperature and penetration resistance, and 3) determine best management recommendations for strip-till use in Wisconsin corn and soybean production systems. Continue reading

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