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Producing no-till cereal or corn following alfalfa on furrow-irrigated land

Carter, D.L. and Berg, R.D. and Sanders, B.J. (1991) Producing no-till cereal or corn following alfalfa on furrow-irrigated land. Journal of Production Agriculture. 4(2):174-179.

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Improved cropping systems are needed to reduce production
inputs, increase production efficiency, protect water quality,
and reduce soil erosion on furrow-irrigated land. Five
field studies were conducted to evaluate the feasibility of producing
cereal or corn (Zea Mays L.) without tillage following
alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) on furrow-irrigated land. The
primary purposes of these studies were to reduce tillage costs
and use N that becomes available through decomposition and
mineralization following killing of alfalfa. Results demonstrated
that no-till crops can be successfully irrigated with
a high degree of water application uniformity, and with less
water than for traditionally tilled crops. Production costs
were lower resulting in higher net income for the no-till produced
crops in all studies. Corn can be produced successfully
with all of its required N being supplied from the decomposing
alfalfa roots and nodules. The rate at which NO3–N
is formed from this source parallels the N-requirements of
corn. All of the N requirements for cereals can be supplied
from the alfalfa source if the alfalfa is killed in the early fall
so that there will be ample time at soil temperatures sufficiently
high to permit some accumulation of NO3–N in the
soil before the rapid N uptake period required by cereals. If
this regime is not followed, cereals may need to be supplemented
with added N to assure adequacy. The use of N by
corn or cereal following alfalfa reduces the potential for nitrate
leaching as compared to conditions when low N requiring
crops are grown after alfalfa.

Item Type: Article
NWISRL Publication Number: 0738
Subjects: Irrigated crops > Alfalfa
Irrigated crops > Corn / maize
Irrigated crops > Small grain
Soil > Tillage
Mass Import - autoclassified (may be erroneous)
Depositing User: Dan Stieneke
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2010 21:53
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2016 18:18
Item ID: 552