Agricultural Research Division of IANR


Date of this Version



ASABE Annual International Meeting, Sponsored by ASABE Rhode Island Convention Center, Providence, Rhode Island, June 29 – July 2, 2008


Copyright 2008 ASABE. Used by permission.


Competition for water is becoming more intense in many parts of the USA, including west-central Nebraska. It is believed that reduced tillage with increased crop residue conserves water, but the magnitude of water savings is not clear. In 2007, a study was initiated on the effect of residue on soil water content and crop yield at North Platte, Nebraska. The experiment was conducted on a set of plots planted to field corn (Zea mays). There were two treatments: residue-covered soil and bare soil. Bare-soil plots were created by using a dethatcher and subsequent hand-raking, removing most of the residue. The residue plots were left untreated. The residue was mostly from previous no-till soybean crops. Residue mass and cover were measured twice: at the beginning (June) and at the end (October) of the growing season. The experiment consisted of eight plots (two treatments times four replications). Each plot was 12.2 m (40 ft) by 12.2 m. During the growing season, soil water content was measured seven times in each of the plots at six depths using a neutron probe (CPN Hydroprobe).

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