Advertisement

Plant and Soil

, Volume 344, Issue 1–2, pp 73–85 | Cite as

Soil water content, maize yield and its stability as affected by tillage and crop residue management in rainfed semi-arid highlands

  • Nele Verhulst
  • Victoria Nelissen
  • Niels Jespers
  • Heleen Haven
  • Ken D. Sayre
  • Dirk Raes
  • Jozef Deckers
  • Bram Govaerts
Regular Article

Abstract

Rainfed crop management systems need to be optimized to provide more resilient options to cope with projected climatic scenarios forecasting a decrease in mean precipitation and more frequent extreme drought periods in Mexico. Soil water content (0–60 cm) was measured during three crop cycles in maize plots with different agronomic management practices in a long-term rainfed experiment (established in 1991) in the highlands of Mexico. Maize yields of 1997–2009 were reported. Crop management practices varied in (1) tillage (conventional [CT] vs. zero tillage [ZT]) and (2) residue management (full or partial retention and removal). ZT with residue retention had higher soil water content than management practices involving CT and ZT with residue removal which provided a buffer for drought periods during the growing seasons. In 2009, a cycle with a prolonged drought during vegetative growth, this resulted in yield differences of up to 4.7 Mg ha−1 between ZT with (partial) residue retention and the other practices. Averaged over 1997–2009, these practices had a yield advantage of approximately 1.5 Mg ha−1 over practices involving CT and ZT with residue removal. ZT with (partial) residue retention used rainfall more efficiently and resulted in a more resilient agronomic system than practices involving either CT or ZT with residue removal.

Keywords

Conservation agriculture Crop residues No-tillage Yield stability 

Notes

Acknowledgements

N.V. received a PhD fellowship of the Research Foundation—Flanders. N.J., V.N. and H.H. received a grant from the IRO-K.U.Leuven. We thank Humberto Gonzalez Juarez, Gerardo Morales Méndez, Jose Cándido Guillermo García Ramírez and Zita Gallardo for technical assistance. The research was funded by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT, Int.) and its strategic partners and donors.

References

  1. Aguilar E, Peterson TC, Ramírez Obando P, Frutos R, Retana JA, Solera M, Soley J, González García I et al (2005) Changes in precipitation and temperature extremes in Central America and Northern South America, 1961–2003. J Geophys Res Atmos 110:D23107. doi: 10.1029/2005JD006119 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alvarez R, Steinbach HS (2009) A review of the effects of tillage systems on some soil physical properties, water content, nitrate availability and crops yield in the Argentine Pampas. Soil Tillage Res 104:1–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baumhardt RL, Lascano RJ (1996) Rain infiltration as affected by wheat residue amount and distribution in ridged tillage. Soil Sci Soc Am J 60:1908–1913CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bescansa P, Imaz MJ, Virto I, Enrique A, Hoogmoed WB (2006) Soil water retention as affected by tillage and residue management in semiarid Spain. Soil Tillage Res 87:19–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Christensen JH, Hewitson B, Busuioc A, Chen A, Gao X, Held I et al (2007) Regional climate projections. In: Solomon S, Qin D, Manning M, Chen Z, Marquis M, Averyt KB, Tignor M, Miller HL (eds) Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. Contribution of working group I to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  6. Dao TH (1993) Tillage and winter wheat residue management effects on water infiltration and storage. Soil Sci Soc Am J 57:1586–1595CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Doorenbos J, Kassam AK (1979) Yield response to water. Irrigation and drainage paper 33. FAO, Rome, p 176Google Scholar
  8. Fischer RA, Santiveri F, Vidal IR (2002a) Crop rotation, tillage and crop residue management for wheat and maize in the sub-humid tropical highlands. I. Wheat and legume performance. Field Crops Res 79:107–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fischer RA, Santiveri F, Vidal IR (2002b) Crop rotation, tillage and crop residue management for wheat and maize in the sub-humid tropical highlands. II. Maize and system performance. Field Crops Res 79:123–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Govaerts B, Sayre KD, Deckers J (2005) Stable high yields with zero tillage and permanent bed planting? Field Crop Res 94:33–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Govaerts B, Sayre KD, Goudeseune B, De Corte P, Lichter K, Dendooven L, Deckers J (2009) Conservation agriculture as a sustainable option for the central Mexican highlands. Soil Tillage Res 103:222–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Greb BW (1966) Effect of surface-applied wheat straw on soil water losses by solar distillation. Soil Sci Soc Am Proc 30:786CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hatfield JL, Sauer TJ, Prueger JH (2001) Managing soils to achieve greater water use efficiency: a review. Agr J 93:271–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hobbs PR, Sayre K, Gupta R (2008) The role of conservation agriculture in sustainable agriculture. Philos T Roy Soc B 363:543–555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. SAS Institute (1994) SAS user’s guide. SAS Inst, CaryGoogle Scholar
  16. IUSS Working Group WRB (2007) World Reference base for soil resources 2006, first update 2007. World soil resources reports No. 103. FAO, Rome, p 128Google Scholar
  17. Larney FJ, Lindwall CW (1995) Rotation and tillage effects on available soil water for winter wheat in a semi-arid environment. Soil Tillage Res 36:111–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Le Bissonnais Y (1996) Aggregate stability and assessment of soil crustability and erodibility. 1. Theory and methodology. Eur J Soil Sci 47:425–437CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lopez-Bellido RJ, Lopez-Bellido L, Benitez-Vega J, Lopez-Bellido FJ (2007) Tillage system, preceding crop, and nitrogen fertilizer in wheat crop: I. Soil water content. Agron J 99:59–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Magrin G, Gay García C, Cruz Choque D, Giménez JC, Moreno AR, Nagy GJ, Nobre C, Villamizar A (2007) Latin America. In: Parry ML, Canziani OF, Palutikof JP, van der Linden PJ, Hanson CE (eds) Climate change 2007: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Contribution of working group II to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 581–615Google Scholar
  21. Mupangwa W, Tomlow S, Walker S, Hove L (2007) Effect of minimum tillage and mulching on maize (Zea mays L.) yield and water content of clayey and sandy soils. Phys Chem Earth 32:1127–1134Google Scholar
  22. Parry ML, Rosenzweig C, Iglesias A, Livermore M, Fischer G (2004) Effects of climate change on global food production under SRES emissions and socio-economic scenarios. Glob Environ Change 14:53–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Pedersen P, Lauer G (2003) Corn and soybean response to rotation sequence, row spacing, and tillage system. Agron J 95:965–971CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Groisman PYa, Knight RW, Easterling DR, Karl TR, Hegerl GC, Razuvaev VN (2005) Trends in intense precipitation in the climate record. J Climate 18:1326–1350CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Raun WR, Barreto HJ, Westerman RL (1993) Use of stability analysis for long-term soil fertility experiments. Agron J 85:159–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sayre K, Govaerts B, Martinez A, Mezzalama M, Martineza M (2006) Comparison of alternative conservation agriculture technologies for rainfed production in the highlands of Central Mexico. In: Proceedings of the 17th Conference of the International Soil Tillage Research Organization, Kiel, Germany, August 28th-September 3rd 2006Google Scholar
  27. Singh B, Chanasyk DS, McGill WB (1998) Soil water regime under barley with long-term tillage-residue systems. Soil Tillage Res 45:59–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Soil Survey Staff (2003) Keys to soil taxonomy. United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Washington DC, p 332Google Scholar
  29. Thierfelder C, Wall PC (2009) Effects of conservation agriculture techniques on infiltration and soil water content in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Soil Tillage Res 105:217–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Verhulst N, Govaerts B, Sayre KD, Deckers J, Dendooven L (2009) Using NDVI and soil quality analysis to assess influence of agronomic management on within-plot spatial variability and factors limiting production. Plant Soil 317:41–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Verhulst N, Govaerts B, Verachtert E, Castellanos-Navarrete A, Mezzalama M, Wall P, Deckers J, Sayre KD (2010) Conservation agriculture, improving soil quality for sustainable production systems? In: Lal R, Stewart BA (eds) Advances in soil science: food security and soil quality. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 137–208Google Scholar
  32. Ward PR, Whisson K, Micin SF, Zeelenberg D, Milroy SP (2009) The impact of wheat stubble on evaporation from a sandy soil. Crop Pasture Sci 60:730–737CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. White RE (2006) Principles and practice of soil science: the soil as a natural resource, 4th edn. Blackwell Science Ltd., Cornwall, p 363Google Scholar
  34. Zhang SL, Simelton E, Lovdahl L, Grip H, Chen DL (2007) Simulated long-term effects of different soil management regimes on the water balance in the Loess Plateau, China. Field Crop Res 100:311–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Zwart SJ, Bastiaanssen WGM (2004) Review of measured crop water productivity values for irrigated wheat, rice, cotton and maize. Agr Water Manage 69:115–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nele Verhulst
    • 1
    • 2
  • Victoria Nelissen
    • 2
  • Niels Jespers
    • 2
  • Heleen Haven
    • 2
  • Ken D. Sayre
    • 1
  • Dirk Raes
    • 2
  • Jozef Deckers
    • 2
  • Bram Govaerts
    • 1
  1. 1.International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)MexicoMexico
  2. 2.Department of Earth and Environmental SciencesKatholieke Universiteit LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

Personalised recommendations