Crimson Clover Management to Enhance Reseeding and No-Till Corn Grain Production
Economic savings and increased legume-N use efficiency may result from natural reseeding of winter annual legume cover crops. A 3-yr experiment was conducted on a Cecil fine sandy loam (clayey, kaolinitic, thermic Typic Kanhapludult) to examine the effects of crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum L.) strip desiccation width (25, 50, and 75% of row area) and orientation (parallel or perpendicular to plant row) on soil water depletion, corn (Zea mays L.) growth and grain yield, and clover reseeding. Additional treatments included early desiccation (25% parallel strip 2 wk before corn planting), annual seeding (complete desiccation at corn planting), and mechanical disruption of clover growth by the no-tillage planter. Early-season soll water was lower in annual seeded plots compared to the 25% strip treatments each year, however, soil water was limiting in only one of 3 yr. Crimson clover successfully reseeded in all strip treatments each year, with dry matter production ranging from 3.0 to 5.2 Mg ha−1 in 1990 and from 3.9 to 5.2 Mg ha−1 in 1991. Nitrogen content of reseeded crimson clover biomass ranged from 86 to 134 kg ha−1 in 1990 and 93 to 111 kg ha−1 in 1991. Corn grain yield was only marginally affected by clover strip management in two out of 3 yr. Results suggest that under adequate moisture conditions a 50% desiccated strip has the potential to maximize clover N contribution. However, a 75% strip-width can minimize potential competition with corn for water and reduce physical impedance of the clover cover crop on corn growth.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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