Source: Purdue University
When it comes to no-till fields, larger corn plants are locked into a fierce battle with each other for resources, says a researcher at Purdue University.
Tony Vyn, a professor of agronomy, said it's been known for a long time that young corn plants are, on average, shorter in no-till, corn-on-corn fields, but that doesn't mean there is an overall stunting of growth among all plants. Instead, residue left over from last year's corn crop is changing soil conditions and creating a disadvantage for some plants fighting for sunlight, water and nutrients.
"There is a hierarchy that is formed, even though the plants are genetically the same and should be equal in size and stature," Vyn said about his findings, which were published in the early online version of the journal Soil & Tillage Research. "No-till corn yield reductions have little to do with an overall height reduction early in the season. They have more to do with height variability during vegetative growth."