Effect of Winter Flooding on Weeds, Soybean Yield, Straw Degradation, and Soil Chemical and Biochemical Characteristics


Winter flooding of harvested rice fields attracts migratory waterfowl and may assist in degrading rice straw residue. Field studies were conducted between 2003 and 2005 in Stoneville, MS to evaluate the impacts of winter flooding of harvested rice fields on rice straw degradation, winter weeds, soybean yield, and soil biochemical and chemical properties. The experimental area each year consisted of a harvested rice field that remained no-till after harvest and that was dissected into 7.6- by 15-m bays with constructed levees to accommodate winter flooding treatments. Flooding treatments (10-cm depth) consisted of: 1) flooded from mid-October to early March; 2) flooded mid-October to early January; 3) flooded mid-December to early March; 4) flooded mid-December to mid-January; and 5) no flood. Winter weeds were counted, biomass determined as well as residual rice straw before flooding and in early April of each year. Winter flooding reduced rice straw biomass 32% to 60% compared to 21% to 31% reduction for no winter flood with the longest flood duration resulting in the greatest loss of carbon and nitrogen from straw residues in both years. Winter flooding treatments reduced weed populations and weed biomass from 43% to 99% when compared to no flooding treatment. Soybean yields ranged from 3295 kg.ha-1 with the longest winter flooding regime to 4295 kg.ha-1 with no flooding. Significant reductions in soil nitrate levels were most consistent in the upper 0 to 2.5-cm surface soil. Soil enzymatic activity (dehydrogenase and fluorescein diacetate hydrolysis) was increased by flooding in 2003, while minimal effects were found in the second year consistent with more anaerobic conditions attained in 2003 compared to 2004. Environmental benefits of accelerated straw decomposition and weed control is achieved by winter flooding; however, there are negative consequences of nitrogen losses and reduced soybean yield.

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C. Koger, R. Zablotowicz, M. Weaver, M. Tucker-Patterson, J. Krutz, T. Walker and J. Street, "Effect of Winter Flooding on Weeds, Soybean Yield, Straw Degradation, and Soil Chemical and Biochemical Characteristics," American Journal of Plant Sciences, Vol. 4 No. 7B, 2013, pp. 10-18. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2013.47A2002.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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