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VI. Projecting Energy Savings with Reduced Tillage

VI. Projecting Energy Savings with Reduced Tillage

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TABLE XVIII

Possible Energy Savings in Indiana by Reduced Tillage for Corn, 2,428,170 ha (6,000,000 A) in 1976

Hectares (acres)

Soil and climate adapted to low-energy tillage

Herbicide-resistant perennial weeds

Now using low-energy tillage

Possible change to low-energy tillage

Possible savings, assuming 50% medium-draft and 50% lowdraft soils, in changing from

plow and chisel tillage, @ 14 l/ha (1.5 gal/A)

Remainder adapted to moderate-energy tillage

Herbicide-resistant perennial weeds

Now using medium-energy tillage

Possible change from high-energy tillage to moderate-energy tillage

Possible savings, assuming 50% high-draft and 50% medium-draft soils, in changing from

plow and chisel tillage @ 16.4 l/ha (1.75 gal/A)

Possible total annual energy saving



Energy savings ](gal)



971,270 (2,400,000)

72,845 (180,000)

194,255 (480,000)

704,170 (1,740,000)

9,858,380 (2,610,000)

1,456,900 (3,600,000)

291,380 (720,000)

291,380 (720,000)

874,140 (2,160,000)

14,335,900 (3,780,000)

24:194,280 (6,390,000)



180



C. B. RICHEY ET AL.



soybeans, allowing solid-seeding as well as reduced tillage. Estimates have not

been made for soybeans, however, because of the fluid state of the technology.

An evaluation has been made of the adaptability of Ohio soils to reduced

tillage (Triplett et al., 1973). Soil series were placed in five tillage groups based

on yield response to the no-till system and also erosion vulnerability. Crop land

totaled 3,809,915 ha (9,414,300 A) of which 1,349,000 ha (3,333,400 A) or

35% is rated to yield, with no-till, as well as or better than with conventional

tillage. Another 25% is rated to yield almost as well with no-till where drainage

has been improved, leaving 40% of the state’s cropland on which yields would be

reduced by no-till.

An accurate projection of energy savings in the United States by reduced

tillage would require a similar analysis for all major crop-producing areas.



VII. Conclusions



1. Tillage increases yields primarily by facilitating early planting-germination-growth, weed control, and moisture conservation. The proportion of residue

left on the surface by tillage is a major factor.

2. Moderate-energy tillage systems can be substituted for high-energy systems

on most soils without yield penalty if pests can be controlled.

3. Low-energy tillage systems appear to be well adapted to the rolling soils of

the southern corn belt and the well-drained loams and coarser textured soils of

the northern corn belt if pests are controlled. Lowenergy tillage has not been

well adapted to poorly drained soils.

4. Surface residue is the most effective deterrent to soil erosion and should be

utilized wherever it does not result in economic penalties.

5. Energy savings with low-energy tillage are less than would appear because

of (a) the energy required to produce the extra herbicide and (b) lack of

adaption to high-draft soils, where the most saving would occur.

6. Overall energy savings from shifting to moderate and low-energy tillageplanting systems where practical is estimated to average about 9.1 l/ha (1 gal/A)

for the Indiana corn crop.

7. The reduction in spring field work and the resulting reduction in late-planting yield penalties with moderate- and low-energy tillage-planting systems is

probably more attractive to the farmer than energy savings.



REFERENCES

Agricultural Machinery Management Data. 1976. Agric. Eng. Yearb. ASAE D 230.2,



322-329.



YIELDS AND REQUIREMENTS FOR CORN AND SOYBEANS



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Baeumer, K., and Bakermans, W. A. P. 1973. Adv. Agron. 25, 77-123.

Barber, S. A. (1965). Res. Prog. Report, Purdue Agr. Exp. Sta. 168.

Bateman, H. P. (1963). Trans. Am. Soc. Agr. Eng. 6(1), 19-25.

Bauman, T. T. 1976. Ph.D. Thesis, Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana.

Blevins, R. L., Cook, D., Phillips. S . H., and Phillips, R. E. 1971. Agron. J. 63,593-596.

Bone, S. W., Rask, N., Forster, D. L., and Schurle, B. W. 1976. Ohio Rep. 61(4), 6 0 4 3 .

Buchele, W. F., Collins, E. V., and Lovely, W. G. 1955. J. Agric. Eng. Res. 36, 324-329,

331.

Dumas, W. T., Trouse, A. C., Smith, L. A., Kummer, F. A,, and Gill, W. R. 1973. Trans. A m .

Soc. Agnc. Eng. 16,872-875, 880.

Free, G. R., and Bay, C. E. 1964. Cornell Univ., Agric. Exp. Stn., Farm Res. Reprint 301.

Gill, W. R. 1971. In “Compaction of Agricultural Soils” (K. K. Barnes, ed.), pp. 431-458.

Am. SOC.Agric. Eng., St. Joseph, Michigan.

Griffith, D. R., Mannering, J. V., Galloway, H. M., Parsons, S. D., and Richey, C. B., 1973.

Agron. J. 65, 321-376.

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Biol. Nut. Syst,, Washington Univ., St. Louis,Mo., p. 162.

Gunkel, W. W., Price, D. R., Casler, G. L., Lucas, G. M., Murray, D. L., Sutter, S . 1976.

Cornell Univ. Agric. Ext. Eng. Bull. 406.

Harrold, L. L., and Edwards, W. M. 1974. Trans. Am. Soc. Agric. Eng. 17,414-416.

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Mannering, J. V., Griffith, D. R., and Richey, C. B. 1975. Am. Soc. Agric. Eng., St. Joseph,

Mich. Pap. No. 75-2523.

Meyer, L. D., and Mannering, J. V. 1961. J. Agric. Eng. Res. 42(2), 72-75, 86, 87.

Moldenhauer, W. C., Lovely, W. G., Swanson, N. P., and Curranee, H. D. 1971. J. Soil Water

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Musick, G. L., and Collins, D. L. 1971. Ohio Rep. 56(6), 88-91.

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pp. 84-81. Interstate Printers & Publishers, Danville, Illinois.

Oschwald, W. R., and Siemens, J. C. 1976. Agron. Facts, Univ. Ill. SM-30.

Pendleton, J . W., and Egli, D. B. 1969. Agron. J. 61, 70, 71.

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Am. Soc. Agric. Eng., St. Joseph, Mich. Pap. No. 73-113.

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14(1), 60-63,68.



EFFECTS OF THE ENVIRONMENT

ON THE GROWTH OF ALFALFA

K. R . Christian

Division of Plant Industry. Commonwealth Scientific and

Industrial Organization. Canberra. Australia



I . Introduction



..................................................

........................

ShootGrowth .................................................

A. Mathematical Description ......................................

B . Internode Number ...........................................

C. Leaf:Stem Ontogeny .........................................

D . Leaf Growth and Development ..................................

RootGrowth ..................................................

Environmental Factors and Vegetative Growth ........................

A. Light .....................................................

B. Temperature ................................................

C. Water .....................................................

D. Minerals ...................................................

Phases in Development ...........................................

A. Bud and Shoot Initiation ......................................

B . Root Carbohydrate Storage ....................................

C. Regrowth Characteristics ......................................

D. Flower and Seed Formation ....................................

E. Seedingandtheseed .........................................

Plant Associations ..............................................

A . 1ntraspecific:Plant Density .....................................

B . Interspecific Competition ......................................

Genetic Adaptation to Environment ................................

References ....................................................



I1. Genetic Variation in Response to Environment



111.



IV .

V.



VI .



VII .

VIII



.



.



I



183

185

186

186

187

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209

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210

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214

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Introduction



The importance of alfalfa in world agriculture needs no further assertion than

a reference to its venerable reputation since antiquity and to its geographical

distribution . The future potential and limitations of this crop are t o be seen in

the volume of scientific papers emanating from every major region in which its

cultivation has been considered practicable . The agronomy of alfalfa in all its

aspects has recently been described. both in the United States (Hanson. 1972)

183



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K. R. CHRISTIAN



and in Australasia (Langer, 1967). A certain amount of repetition of the material

contained in those extensive compilations will be unavoidable in this review,

which is concerned with a more limited appraisal, from a nonspecialist perspective, of the complex of factors contributing to the variability in growth under

different conditions.

Plant growth might be described as a genetically planned construction attuned

to the environment, if such a definition did not fail to convey fully the truism

that the plant has no existence apart from the environment. When one speaks of

the effect of environment, it is always a departure of some sort from some other

environment that is implied. This leads naturally to the proposal of a standard or

reference environment, which immediately raises problems in specification. The

notion of an optimal environment is open to criticism, since the requirements

for maximum dry matter yield are not necessarily those which produce material

of best quality or which promote highest seed yields or greatest persistence.

Furthermore, the ideal environment for any one of these objectives might well

involve inordinate quantities of light and nutrients, C 0 2 enrichment, and so on.

Nevertheless, any study of growth requires, tacitly or explicitly, a comparison

with a “normal” behavioral pattern for that genotype under circumstances

where development is not unreasonably hampered by any single external

parameter.

It is usually not practicable to specify the environment other than in general

terms, such as a set of instrument readings at a given height above the crop,

which may give little impression of the changes taking place beneath. The plant

inhabits the two vastly differing media of atmosphere and soil, each of which

influences the other. In partaking of the tetrad of earth, air, fire in the form of

radiation, and water, the plant contributes to its own microenvironment at each

level of the vertical profde, and thereby to the environment as a whole.

Fredricksen (1938) described marked differences in runoff, soil moisture, soil

structure, air temperature, humidity, and wind movement with an alfalfa field as

compared with prairie bunch grass vegetation, and similar observations have been

made since.

The influence of the environment extends to the response of impinging

organisms, including neighboring plants, pathogens, pollinators, symbiotic microflora, and grazing animals. Disease infestation is often a secondary effect,

resulting from environmentally induced hazards such as waterlogging, frost

damage, high temperatures, and nutrient deficiencies, but its importance may

ultimately be much greater. Alfalfa plants grown in a pathogen-free environment

can be subjected to severe clipping treatment without displaying plant mortality

or root necrosis (Hamlen et al., 1972). Willis et al. (1969) showed that fungicide

spraying could reduce leaf drop and increase hay yields by 18% over one growing

season.

Management practices such as tillage, irrigation, and fertilizer application, and

variations in harvesting and grazing schedules, can also modify the environment



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