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Response of Three Irrigated Crops to Deep Tillage of a Semi-Arid Silt Loam

Cary, J.W. and Rasmussen, W.W. (1979) Response of Three Irrigated Crops to Deep Tillage of a Semi-Arid Silt Loam. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 43(3):574-577.

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The growth and water relations of winter wheat (Triticum
aestivum L), sugarbeets (Beta vulgaris L.) and corn (Zea mays
L.) were studied after deepening the root zone in the Portneuf
silt loam soil (Durixerollic calciorthid). Roots of annual plants
are largely restricted by a hard layer that lies between the 0.4-
and 1-m depths. This layer was disrupted to a depth of 1.2 m
by complete mixing, by chiseling, or by trenching on 0.6- and
1.2-m centers. The treatments included two irrigation levels to
show any advantage in crop water relations due to deeper rooting
after deep tillage.

Deeper rooting did develop on the deep-tilled treatments, but
the water supplied through net soil moisture depletion below
0.6 m was increased by < 4 cm even when the crop was stressed
for water late in the season. Deep soil water extraction was not
always proportional to rooting density. Trenching on 0.6-m
centers was the most favorable treatment. Completely mixing
the soil decreased yields, due in part to a lighter surface color
and lower soil temperatures. Deep tillage seldom had a measurable
effect on stomatal resistance or plant water potential.
Management of this soil should be concentrated on providing
the best possible root environment in the top 0.5 m of soil as
this is the basis for maximum production in irrigated agriculture.

Item Type: Article
NWISRL Publication Number: 0434
Subjects: Soil > Tillage
Mass Import - autoclassified (may be erroneous)
Depositing User: Dan Stieneke
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2010 21:52
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2017 20:28
Item ID: 355