Mulch culture in relation to soil and water conservation and corn yields in Iowa

Browning, G.M.; Norton, R.A.; Shedd, C.K.

Soil Science Society American Proceedings 8: 424-431


DOI: 10.2136/sssaj1944.036159950008000c0088x
Accession: 013430104

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The Agric. Expt. Station of Iowa, in cooperation with the Bureau of Plant Industry, Soils and Agricultural Engineering and the Soil Conservation Service, has been studying the effect of different methods of preparing land on the yield of corn, the cost of operation, and the loss of soil and water since 1939 on the Clarion-Webster soils on the Agric. Engineering Farm near Ames and on the Marshall silt loam soil on the Soil Conservation Exptl. Farm near Clarinda 1942-43. Differences in corn yield brought about by various cultural treatments were unimportant on Clarion soils when the previous crop was corn. Greater benefits were obtained when sweet clover was plowed under than when it was retained on the surface by subsurface tillage. On the Webster silty clay loam soil the yields were consistently higher from plots that were plowed than from subsurface-tilled areas. When crop residues were removed from the land before plowing and replaced after plowing, corn yields were as good as or better than those obtained where residues were plowed under. An exception to this was noted on 2d-yr. corn on the Webster silty clay loam in 1943. Yields were consistently higher on hard-ground listed areas than on subsurface-tilled areas on terraced land on the Marshall silt loam soil. Corn plants on plowed plots on Clarion and Webster soils were significantly taller than on subsurface-tilled plots. Contour-listed corn was nearly equal to plowed and surface-planted corn on Clarion loam in spite of a 9% reduction in average stand. On a soybean field, areas which had been prepd. for the previous crop by the subsurface cultivator and subsoil lister were freer from weeds, the crop matured earlier, and yields were significantly larger than on areas which had been prepd. for the previous crop by plowing residues under. By using mulch culture implements rather than the plow for primary seedbed prepn., it has been possible to reduce power and labor requirements for seedbed prepn. and planting by 1/3-1/2.