Project Details:

Maximizing Soil Warming and Health Under Different Tillage Practices in a Corn-Soybean Rotation

Parent Project: This is the first year of this project.
Checkoff Organization:North Dakota Soybean Council
Categories:Soil and tillage management, Education
Organization Project Code:QSSB
Project Year:2018
Lead Principal Investigator:Aaron Daigh (North Dakota State University)
Co-Principal Investigators:
Abbey Wick (North Dakota State University)
Jodi DeJong-Hughes (University of Minnesota)

Contributing Organizations

Funding Institutions

Information and Results

Comprehensive project details are posted online for three-years only, and final reports indefinitely. For more information on this project please contact this state soybean organization.

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Final Project Results

Updated June 21, 2018:

View uploaded report Word file

There are many advantages of reducing soil tillage. However, reducing tillage creates concerns of yield reductions due to cool, wet soils in the poorly-drained landscape that dominates much of North Dakota and the Red River Valley. The objectives of this study are to:
1. monitor soil warming and water contents under chisel plow, vertical tillage, strip till with shank, and strip till with coulter on various soil series
2. evaluate soil health and crop yields, and
3. transfer information to producers through field days, videos, etc.

This is a multi-state effort, involving North Dakota and Minnesota and is in year four of the field study. Four on-farm locations are under a corn-soybean rotation and rotate each year. At each location, the four tillage practices are demonstrated using full-sized equipment in plots of 40 feet wide by the full length of the field in a replicated design. Soils include silty clay, clay loam, loams, and sandy loam; representing >67 million acres in the region.

During 2017, the chisel plow and strip-till berms had the driest and warmest soil conditions followed by between the strip-till berms and then the vertical till as the wettest and coolest soil conditions. Soil microbial communities appeared to be relatively stable over time during the year.

No differences were observed in soybean stand counts or yields. However, tile drainage appeared to have substantially larger influence on soybean yields than tillage or soil salinity level. For instance, plot-to-plot variability was 3.9 bu/ac on average among tillage practices, regardless of the soil salinity levels or drainage management. The same variability was observed among soil salinity levels. However, crop yields were 7.5 bu/ac higher in tile drained fields as compared to undrained fields.

This project has was produced three videos (viewed >9,700 times from around the world), disseminated information at >50 field days, presentations, and other university events to deliver study findings to North Dakota producers, and the Upper Midwest Tillage Guide that was published in 2017 and is available online for free. Information obtained during the 2018 growing season will be presented at joint NDSU-UMN events in 2018.

Project Years