See more from this Session: Professional Oral – Soils & Crops
Tuesday, February 7, 2012: 9:30 AM
Alabama wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) farmers are changing management practices to maximize yields and reduce trips across their fields, which include adopting no-till or reduced tillage practices. The use of different tillage practices has prompted questions about nitrogen (N) fertilizer rates and application timings. Four locations [Tennessee Valley Research and Extension Center (TVS) in Northern AL, E.V. Smith Research Center (EVS) in Central AL, Wiregrass Research and Extension Center (WGS) in Southeast AL and Gulf Coast Research and Extension Center (GCS) in Southwest AL] were used to examine tillage practices and N rates during the 2008 - 2011 wheat growing seasons resulting in twelve site-year comparisons. Each location followed cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) and consisted of a split plot design with tillage (conventional or non-inversion; no-till at TVS) as the main block and twelve N fertilizer treatments that included fall applications as subplots replicated four times. At TVS, early season tiller counts were not affected by fall tillage or fall N. On the Coastal Plain soils (EVS, GCS, and WGS), non-inversion tillage promoted some tiller production, but fall N always improved tiller counts. No-tillage (TVS) and non-inversion tillage (EVS, GCS, and WGS) produced equivalent yields to conventional tillage across all site-years. Wheat yields at TVS were not influenced by fall N and total N required to maximize yields was inconsistent at TVS. However, fall N (22 kg ha-1) was essential at EVS, GCS, and WGS followed by 78 kg N ha-1 applied early in the spring (mid-February). These findings have resulted in slight modifications to the tillage and fertilizer sections of the Alabama Wheat Production Guide.