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Farming Systems Study for Greenhouse gas Reduction through Agricultural Carbon Enhancement network in Morris, Minnesota

Farming Systems Study for Greenhouse gas Reduction through Agricultural Carbon Enhancement network in Morris, Minnesota
Tillage is decreasing globally due to recognized benefits of fuel savings and improved soil health in the absence of disturbance. However, a perceived inability to control weeds effectively and economically hinders no-till adoption in organic production systems in the Upper Midwest, USA. A strip-tillage (ST) strategy was explored as an intermediate approach to reducing fuel use and soil disturbance, and still controlling weeds. An 8-year comparison was made between two tillage approaches, one primarily using ST the other using a combination of conventional plow, disk and chisel tillage [conventional tillage (CT)]. Additionally, two rotation schemes were explored within each tillage system: a 2-year rotation (2y) of corn (Zea mays L.), and soybean (Glycine max [L.] Merr.) with a winter rye (Secale cereale L.) cover crop; and a 4-year rotation (4y) of corn, soybean, spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) underseeded with alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), and a second year of alfalfa. These treatments resulted in comparison of four main management systems CT-2y, CT-4y, ST-2y and ST-4y, which also were managed under fertilized and non-fertilized conditions. Yields, whole system productivity (evaluated with potential gross returns), and weed seed densities (first 4 years) were measured. Across years, yields of corn, soybean and wheat were greater by 34% or more under CT than ST but alfalfa yields were the same. Within tillage strategies, corn yields were the same in 2y and 4y rotations, but soybean yields, only under ST, were 29% lower in the fertilized 4y than 2 yr rotation. In the ST-4y system yields of corn and soybean were the same in fertilized and non-fertilized treatments. Over the entire rotation, system productivity was highest in the fertilized CT-2y system, but the same among fertilized ST-4y, and non-fertilized ST-2y, ST-4y, and CT-4y systems. Over the first 4 years, total weed seed density increased comparatively more under ST than CT, and was negatively correlated to corn yields in fertilized CT systems and soybean yields in the fertilized ST-2y system. These results indicated ST compromised productivity, in part due to insufficient weed control, but also due to reduced nutrient availability. ST and diverse rotations may yet be viable options given that overall productivity of fertilized ST-2y and CT-4y systems was within 70% of that in the fertilized CT-2y system. Closing the yield gap between ST and CT would benefit from future research focused on organic weed and nutrient management, particularly for corn.

Release Date
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Area
POLYGON ((-95.804064 45.683153, -95.800411 45.683153, -95.800411 45.682178, -95.804064 45.682178))
U.S. Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service
Temporal Coverage
March 1, 2002 to November 11, 2009
Contact Name
Johnson, Jane
Contact Email
Public Access Level
Program Code
005:040 - Department of Agriculture - National Research
Bureau Code
005:18 - Agricultural Research Service
Source ID
Harvested from Geodata Harvest
Harvest Source TitleGeodata Harvest
Harvest Source URIhttps://geodata.nal.usda.gov/geonetwork/srv/eng/csw
Last Harvest PerformedThu, 04/22/2021 - 01:01