No-Till Always Saves Moisture

Regardless of what tillage system was used, no-till consistently provided a moisture advantage over a 3-year period in the Mid-Atlantic Cropping Systems Project at Port Royal, Va.

The project is sponsored by a small group of farm owners with acreage on the south side of the Rappahannock River. It was programmed to analyze the economic benefits of three cropping systems. The research is done by extension specialists from Virginia Tech in plots that measure 60 by 2,000 feet and encompass four soils over the coastal plain bottomland.

The subsoil of two Wickham soils benefit from stronger clay-bed support, which helps hold moisture near the plant roots longer than with two Bojac soils where clay deposits are considerably less.

The three cropping rotations include:

1. No-till corn, conventionally tilled wheat and no-till double-crop soybeans (three crops in 2 years).

2. No-till corn, no-till full-season soybeans, no-till wheat and no-till double-crop soybeans (four crops in 3 years).

3. No-till barley, no-till double-crop corn, no-till wheat and no-till double-crop soybeans (four crops in 2 years).

Soils Made Difference

Because of moisture retention, Virginia agronomist Jim Pease says wheat, soybean and corn yields were far better with the Wickham soils than the Bojac soils. Returns per acre were more than twice as high for the Wickham soils.

During a recent tour of the plots, Ron Mulford outlined some challenges that no-tillers would face in trying to grow four crops in the 2-year system. For instance, the manager of the University of Maryland’s Lower Eastern…

To view the content, please subscribe or login.
 Premium content is for our Digital-only and Premium subscribers. A Print-only subscription doesn't qualify. Please purchase/upgrade a subscription with the Digital product to get access to all No-Till Farmer content and archives online. Learn more about the different versions and what is included.

Lessiter frank

Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

Top Articles

Current Issue


No-Till Farmer

Get full access NOW to the most comprehensive, powerful and easy-to-use online resource for no-tillage practices. Just one good idea will pay for your subscription hundreds of times over.

Subscribe Now

View More

Must Read Free Eguides

Download these helpful knowledge building tools

View More
Top Directory Listings