Zero-till vs conventional tillage with two rotations: crop production over the last 10 years
A study was initiated in 1978 to compare zero-till with conventional tillage crop production in two rotations; fallow-oilseed-wheat and oilseed-wheat-wheat (with canola and flax alternating in the oiIseed year). In both rotations, soil moisture levels were higher at seeding time with zero-tillage than with conventional tillage. Most of the difference occurred in the 0-15 cm profile of soil where crops were sown on stubble. With the fallow treatment , more moisture was stored throughout the soil profile under zero-till. Crop yields varied considerably from year to year, but when combined over the 10 years, they were quite similar between the two tillage systems. Generally wheat tended to yield more and the oilseed crops (canola, flax) less under zero than conventional tillage. Where yields of zero-till crops were lower than conventional tillage, inadequate weed control was usually the primary cause. Several weed population changes occurred with zero-tillage and several of these species proved more difficult and costly to control than those present in the conventional tillage system. The results suggest that the adequacy and cost of weed control is a major factor determining the feasibility of zero-till crop production on the Dark Brown Soils of N.W. Saskatchewan.
Soils and Crops Workshop