Saturday, 15 July 2006

Penetration Resistance under Zone and Strip-Tillage for Vegetable Cultivation in New York State.

Omololu J. Idowu1, Anusuya Rangarajan2, and Donald E. Halseth2. (1) Dept of Crop and Soil Sciences, Cornell Univ, 1015 Bradfield Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853, (2) Cornell Univ, 121 Plant Science Building, Ithaca, NY 14853

Reduced tillage is being promoted for vegetable cultivation in Northeastern United States due to concerns about declining crop productivity and soil degradation arising from intensive primary and secondary tillage. One of the common constraints to crop production in NE United States is soil compaction. Long-term continuous plow tillage often leads to the formation of a compact subsurface layer (plow pan) which impedes root and water penetration. Different reduced tillage methods being developed must be able to alleviate this subsurface compaction problems often encountered in these soils. A field trial was conducted in Freeville, NY on a coarse textured glacial outwash (Howard gravelly loam) to study soil compaction as measured by Penetration Resistance (PR) in strip- and zone- tillage systems comparing these with conventional plow based system. The test crops were dry beans and sweet corn. PR at three layers (0-10cm, 10-20cm and 20-30cm) of the soil was measured at the beginning of the trial after tillage and at the end of the crop season just before harvest. Results showed no significant difference in PR among the tillage treatments at 0-10cm, while there were significant differences in PR at 10-20cm and 20-30cm layers at the first PR measurement. The results from second PR measurement just before harvest, showed only 20-30cm with significant difference in PR among the treatments. In soil layers with significant differences, zone tillage treatment consistently gave a higher PR than the other treatments while there were no significant differences in PR between plowed and strip tilled treatments. There were also significant differences comparing the in-row and between-row PR measurements at both time periods for all treatments. Also from the results, the yield of dry beans and sweet corn were better correlated with PR for the second measurement than the first measurement, for 20-30cm than the other measured layers and for in-row positions than between row positions.

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