Database Research SummariesCorn and Soybean Crop Residue Management Impact on Soil Quality, Soybean Yield, and Returns
The focus of this research is to provide information that can be used by producers to make informed decisions regarding tillage-crop residue management practices in a corn/soybean rotation production system.
- Determine how tillage and management of residue in a corn/soybean rotation affect soil quality, crop yields, and economic returns.
- Studies were taken place at two different locations and were conducted in a soybean and corn rotation using controlled traffic systems from 2012-2016. In Verona (non-irrigated), burning corn crop residue resulted in reduced spring ground cover, bed height, and yield. All the tillage systems’ spring bed heights were greater where corn crop residue was not burned. The six-year average yields indicated TerraTill yield of 74.3 bu/acre was greater than other tillage systems.
- In Stoneville (irrigated), there was no crop residue management or crop residue management by tillage interaction, except spring ground cover in 2012 and tillage. In 2012, no-burn had greater ground cover than burning corn crop residue. The six-year average spring ground cover was greater for Reduced Till and TerraTill than Bed-roller and Disk (2x) + TerraTill. The six-year average spring bed height for the Bed-roller was greater than for the other tillage systems. Tillage systems six-year average yields ranged from 61.1 to 62.6 bu/acre and were not different.
- There was no crop residue management effect or crop residue management by tillage systems interaction for crop residue yields at both locations. The six-year (2012-2017) crop residue tillage average yields at Verona ranged from 2.35 to 2.54 ton/acre and the nutrient contents were similar. The Stoneville six-year tillage soybean crop residue yield averages ranged from 2.10 to 2.38 tons/acre with the Reduced Till yield of 2.38 ton/acre being greater than TerraTill and Disk (2x) + TerraTill.
- The economic analysis for both locations indicated there was no crop residue management, crop residue management by tillage systems or year by tillage systems interactions for net returns above total specified tillage costs.
- Farmers now know with the exception of spring ground cover and bed height, burning corn crop residue has no influence on soil quality, yields and returns above tillage system total costs.
For more information about this research project, please visit the National Soybean Checkoff Research Database.
Funded in part by the soybean checkoff.