Effects of a Legume Winter Cover Crop and Tillage on Production and Nitrogen Nutrition of Sweet Corn

in HortScience
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  • 1 Community Research Service, Kentucky State Univ., Frankfort, KY 40601

A split-plot factorial experiment was conducted to examine effects of tillage and winter cover crops on sweet corn. Main plots received tillage or no tillage. Cover crops consisted of hairy vetch, winter rye, or a mix. Nitrogen treatments consisted of either adding or not adding NH4NO3 at recommended rates. No significant effects of tillage on sweet corn yields were detected, although yields with tillage were slightly greater. Following rye winter cover crops, adding NH4NO3 to corn significantly (P ≤ 0.05) increased yields by 56% compared to treatments not receiving N. However, following vetch, corn yields obtained without N fertilization equaled those obtained with N fertilization following rye or vetch. It was concluded that 1) nontilled sweet corn was successful and 2) N2 fixed by vetch was able to sustain sweet corn production completely and was equivalent to a minimum of 70 kg N/ha.

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