ISSN 1392-3196 / e-ISSN 2335-8947
Zemdirbyste-Agriculture, vol. 102, No. 4 (2015), p. 363–370
DOI 10.13080/z-a.2015.102.046

The interaction between maize and weeds under the conditions of long-term reduced tillage



One of the most common problems in long-term reduced or no-tillage practices is increased weed infestation. In this study, as no clear conclusions for Southern Baltic Region transitional maritime-continental climate and soil conditions have been reached to date, we investigated the interactions between maize and weeds in such technologies with low herbicide application levels. Toward this aim, a long-term field experiment was initiated at the Experimental Station of Aleksandras Stulginskis University, Kaunas district, Lithuania (54º52′ N, 23º49′ E) in 1988. The soil was ploughed to a depth of 22–25 cm (control) and 12–15 cm, cultivated to a depth of 25–30 and 10–12 cm or no-tilled.

In deep-cultivated, shallow-cultivated and no-tilled plots, the residues covered 5.9, 5.7 and 13.2 times higher area of the soil surface than that in the control. The reduced primary and no-tillage conditions typically showed irradiance increases at the ¼, ½ and ¾ altitudes of maize crop. Besides, more weed seeds were found in the upper 0–15 cm layer (60%) than in the deeper (15–25 cm) layer (40%). In the deep and shallow-cultivated plots, there were 2 and 3 times more perennial weeds than in the conventionally ploughed. At the end of the maize (Zea mays L.) vegetation, in the shallow-ploughed, deep and shallow-cultivated or no-tilled plots, there was 46, 40, 30 and 16 % greater weed stand density, whereas the dry mass of weeds decreased by 30, 22, 36 and 17 %, respectively.

Weed infestation in the short season maize primarily depended on the soil coverage with pre-crop residues, the maize stand density, the maize canopy height and the solar radiation level over the soil surface.

Key words: crop stand irradiance, residue coverage, weed biomass, weed seed bank, weed stand density, Zea mays.

Full text: 102_4_str46.pdf