Year of Publication

2010

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Thesis

College

Agriculture

Department

Plant and Soil Science

First Advisor

Dr. Larry Grabau

Abstract

Organic corn (Zea mays L.) producers generally use intensive tillage for weed control. No-till methods reduce soil erosion, conserve water, maintain soil structure and reduce CO2 emissions. The objective of this study was test different cover crops, tillage systems, N sources and N rates for organic corn production. Two tillage systems (no-till and moldboard plow), two cover crops [hairy vetch (Vicia villosa) and rye (Secale cereale)] and two organic N sources [Louisville Green (LG) and Nature Safe (NF)] at four N rates (45, 90, 135, 180 kg N ha-1) were evaluated during 2008 and 2009 at three sites. A roller crimper device was used for the no-till operations. A long term aerobic incubation was conducted. Hairy vetch improved yield, ear leaf N and grain N content compared with rye in all sites. Nature Safe increased ear leaf N more than LG in all three sites and yield in two out of three sites. Both sources stopped mineralizing at 28 days after application. Inorganic N production was about 50 kg N ha-1 for LG and 60 kg N ha-1 for NF. The combination moldboard plow and hairy vetch resulted in the highest yields at all experimental sites.

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