A comparison of soil properties after five years of no-till and strip-till

Fabián G. Fernández, Brad A. Sorensen, Maria B. Villamil

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Recent research in Illinois suggests that yield increase in corn (Zea mays L.) and soybean [Glycine max. (L.) Merr.] with strip-till (ST) vs. no-till (NT) could be explained by differences in root characteristics and enhanced nutrient uptake in ST. However, the effect of these tillage practices on soil properties remains unclear. Our objective was to evaluate the impact of NT and ST on soil organic matter (SOM), penetration resistance (PR), bulk density (BD), water aggregate stability (WAS), and infiltration rate (INF) from selected treatments of a larger study established in 2007 with two adjacent fields in a corn–soybean rotation. the effect of tillage (NT, ST) on soil properties at four different positions relative to the crop-row and at four successive depths was measured during the corn phase in 2012 and 2013. Averaged across crop-row positions relative to NT, ST increased SOM by 8.6% (3.5 vs. 3.8% SOM), reduced BD by 4% to 1.35 g cm–3 and reduced PR by 18% to 0.94 MPa. there were no differences or inconsistent responses to tillage for WAS and INF indicating additional years are likely needed to determine whether these soil properties can be influenced with NT and ST. Consistent repeated planting over the same position in the field created substantial differences in soil properties in relation to position from the crop-row. We showed that previously observed improved nutrient uptake efficiency and yields in ST compared with NT is related, at least in part, to improved properties of the soil with ST.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1339-1346
Number of pages8
JournalAgronomy Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 6 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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