25 years of tillage effects on wheat production in a continuous cropping system
Heat stress occurs often in wheat on the Canadian Prairies especially during grain growth (from anthesis to maturity), which has a markedly negative impact on yield (McCaig 1997). Under no-till management (NT), surface residue and stubble act as insulation and impede the exchange rate of thermal energy between the soil and the atmosphere, and the superior soil moisture of NT compared to conventional tillage (CT) can buffer the extremes in daily soil temperatures. It is, therefore, possible that the cooling effect of NT could alleviate the root heat stress of wheat. Under a continuous wheat cropping system on a Thin Black Chernozemic clay loam in central Alberta, Wang et al (2007) found that the near-surface soil temperature of NT was lower than that of CT throughout the growing season, which reduced the risk of root heat stress and benefited grain yield and biomass. The objective of this study was to investigate whether a similar effect of NT is present in southwestern Saskatchewan.
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