A three-year study of strip tillage corn production finds reduced greenhouse gas emissions compared to regular no-till – along with increased yields.
Strip tillage was done in one field while another field was left untilled with fertilizer applied to the entire surface at the University of Missouri’s test area in northeast Missouri. In the tilled strips, fertilizer was applied at the time of planting, just to those strips.
The researchers say by planting corn into field strips up to a foot wide and nine inches deep farmers use less energy and there’s less soil erosion and soil moisture loss than whole-field application. In addition, nitrogen stays deeper in the soil in those strips where it’s “less susceptible to environmental loss.”
The head of MU’s Department of Soil, Environmental and Atmospheric Science says it’s their goal to help farmers make informed management choices for reducing nitrous oxide while maintaining or increasing production.
MU says scientists believe nitrous oxide contributes to global warming about 300 times more than carbon dioxide.