Use of a New Deep Vertical Gypsum Placement Practice on Corn and Soybean Production in Conservation Tillage Systems

  •  Theodore G. Blumenschein    
  •  Kelly A. Nelson    
  •  Peter P. Motavalli    


Corn (Zea mays L.) and soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) production in claypan soils in the north central U.S. may be constrained by the presence of acidic subsoils. Subsoil acidity can inhibit root growth leading to decreased drought tolerance and grain yields. In conservation tillage systems, management options to incorporate gypsum applications may be limited; thereby reducing available practices to lower subsoil acidity. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of surface placement of gypsum compared to a new practice for deep vertical placement of gypsum on corn and soybean plant growth and yields in a conservation tillage system. Field trials were conducted from 2012 to 2016 in northeast Missouri (USA) with treatments of gypsum (0, 2.9, and 5.2 Mg ha-1) broadcast on the soil surface or applied in a deep vertical band to a depth of 51 cm. Surface and deep banding of gypsum had inconsistent effects on corn and soybean plant heights, plant population and yields. However, deep banding of gypsum resulted in a 6.4 to 9.8% decrease in corn yields and a 9.9 to 13.0% decrease in soybean yields depending on the time after application. These results indicate that further research is warranted in conservation tillage systems in claypan soils to examine modification to the deep vertical placement practice or combining applications of surface-applied gypsum and deep placement of lime in order to develop a practice that will be more effective in overcoming subsoil acidity.

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