A Comparison of Low Input Systems on WICST

Marginal profits, increasing pest pressure, and concern for pollution hazard have resulted in increased interest in including small grains in corn-soybean rotations and using less inputs.  Data from the WICST trials show environmental advantages of using a chemical free three-phase system but yields were often lower than in the high input systems.  Researchers have found that expanded rotations plus low input levels can be quite competitive with shorter rotations and high chemical inputs  (Singer, 1998; Singer and Cox, 1998 and Clark et al., 1999).  We decided to test a ‘ChemLite’ approach adding reduced inputs to the 3-phase cash grain rotation and compare it to the three phase organic system (CS3), and the no-till corn soybean system (CS2).  The ChemLite system would aim for half rates of N on cereals and half rates of post-emergent herbicide on row crops (when necessary)….More…

Authors: Janet Hedtcke, Joshua Posner, and Jon Baldock