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Optimizing Row Cultivation for High Residue Cropping Systems 1997

Project Director: Robert Gallagher

Objectives:

1. Determine the optimum time for row cultivation relative to weed emergence in no-till and zone-till corn.

2. Determine the optimum sweep configuration for the row cultivator to reduce weed interference in no till and zone-till corn.

3. Determine the effect of row cultivation on surface residue cover and water infiltration.

Results:

Row cultivation significantly reduced residue cover compared with the uncultivated plots. There was no evidence that cultivation had an effect on grain yields, except that when cultivation was delayed, yield losses resulted. Sweep angle configuration had no effect on the measured parameters. Cultivation improved surface water infiltration but reduced water flow through the soil profile under saturated conditions. While row cultivation can help reduce herbicide inputs while maintaining yields, it may result in higher soil erosion than that of conventional herbicide programs.