Published June 8, 2010 | By admin
Water Infiltration Rates with Strip-Till Are Up!
Our agronomist Mike Petersen in a fashion phoned home to tell us this year being the fourth year of a long term crop and tillage study at the Stiles Foundation Farm, that the Blackland’s heavy textured soils are showing great improvements in Strip-Tilled crops compared to Direct Seeded and Conventional full-width tillage.
The standard method of near saturated infiltration studies at the Stiles Farm are seeing 1.3 to 4 times faster infiltration rates in strip-till compared to conventionally tilled soils. In the corn on cotton rotation in the Direct Seeded plots we measured a decrease in water infiltration from what has been happening in the three years prior. We think that could be due to the steady decline in pore numbers that are <1mm in size as well as the 1 to 2 mm sized pores. Also the bulk density has edged up to 1.49 g/cm3 compared to 1.38 in the strip-till but the conventional tilled ground is 1.66g/cm3. These soils are silty clay with 52% clay, pretty tough soils to manage and work with to say the least. In the continuous corn rotation the Direct Seeded infiltration conditions are up then back down, where the strip-till has been slowly gaining with higher infiltration rates. We know when Texas has more moist winters and springs that the infiltration rates drop off in Direct Seeded ground. Late winter 2009 and then into 2010 being quite wet slowed fertilization (pre-plant) and then they seeded into very moist ground which can be a detriment to getting a respectable stand in clayey soils. All potentially damaging pores, ill timed tillage is not always good – this leads to numerous problems for the grower. Keep watching this page and Mike will get some of the data posted as to how much difference there can be with Strip-Tillage in Central Texas for the cotton/corn, grain sorghum/cotton and continuous corn rotations.