Corn and Soybean Rotation under Reduced Tillage Management: Impacts on Soil Properties, Yield, and Net Return


A 4-yr field study was conducted from 2007 to 2010 at Stoneville, MS to examine the effects of rotating corn and soybean under reduced tillage conditions on soil properties, yields, and net return. The six rotation systems were continuous corn (CCCC), continuous soybean (SSSS), corn-soybean (CSCS), soybean-corn (SCSC), soybean-soybean-cornsoybean (SSCS), and soybean-soybean-soybean-corn (SSSC). Field preparation consisted of disking, subsoiling, disking, and bedding in the fall of 2005. After the fall of 2006, the raised beds were refurbished each fall after harvest with no additional tillage operations to maintain as reduced tillage system. The surface 5 cm soil from continuous soybean had higher pH than continuous corn in all four years. Unlike pH, total carbon and total nitrogen were higher in continuous corn compared to continuous soybean. Delta 15N tended to be higher in continuous corn compared to continuous soybean. Fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) indicated minor changes in soil microbial community in relation to cropping sequence, however there was a significant shift in rhizosphere community depending on crop. Corn yield increased every year following rotation with soybean by 16%, 31%, and 15% in 2008, 2009, and 2010, respectively, compared to continuous corn. As a result, net returns were higher in rotated corn compared with continuous corn. This study demonstrated that alternating between corn and soybean is a sustainable practice with increased net returns in corn.

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Reddy, K. , Zablotowicz, R. and Krutz, L. (2013) Corn and Soybean Rotation under Reduced Tillage Management: Impacts on Soil Properties, Yield, and Net Return. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 4, 10-17. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2013.45A002.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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