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The effect of wheat straw residue on the emergence and early growth of sugar beet (Beta vulgaris) and oilseed rape (Brassica napus)

Morris, N. L., Miller, P. C. H., Orson, J. H. and Froud-Williams, R. J. (2009) The effect of wheat straw residue on the emergence and early growth of sugar beet (Beta vulgaris) and oilseed rape (Brassica napus). European Journal of Agronomy, 30 (3). pp. 151-162. ISSN 1161-0301

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.eja.2008.09.002


The management of straw residue can be a concern in non-inversion tillage systems where straw tends to be incorporated at shallow depths or left on the soil surface. This can lead to poor crop establishment because straw residue can impede or hinder crop emergence and growth. Small container-based experiments were undertaken using varying amounts of wheat straw residue either incorporated or placed oil the soil surface. The effects on (lays to seedling emergence, percentage emergence, seedling dry-weight and soil temperature using sugar beet and oilseed rape were investigated because these crops often follow wheat in a cropping sequence. The position of the straw residue was found to be the primary factor in reducing crop emergence and growth. Increasing the amount of straw residue (from 3.3 t ha(-1) to 6.7 t ha(-1)) did not show any consistent trends in reducing crop emergence or growth. However, in some instances, results indicated that an interaction between the position and the amount of straw residue Occurred particularly when the straw and seed was placed on the soil surface. Straw placed on the soil surface significantly reduced mean day-time soil temperature by approximately 2.5 degrees C compared to no residue. When the seed and straw was placed on the soil Surface a lack of seed-to-soil contact caused a reduction in emergence by approximately 30% because of the restriction in available moisture that limited the ability for seed imbibition. This trend was reversed when the seed was placed in the soil, but with straw residue still on the soil surface, because the surface straw was likely to reduce moisture evaporation and improved seed-to-soil contact that led to rapid emergence. In general, when straw was mixed in or placed on the soil surface along with the seed, sugar beet and oilseed rape emergence and early growth biomass was significantly restricted by approximately 50% compared to no residue. The consequences of placing seed with or near to straw residue have been shown to cause a restriction in crop establishment. In both oilseed tape and sugar beet, this could lead to a reduction in final crop densities, poor, uneven growth and potentially lower yields that could lower financial margins. Therefore, if farmers are planning to use non-inversion tillage methods for crop establishment, the management and removal of straw residue from near or above the seed is considered important for successful crop establishment. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
ID Code:9660
Uncontrolled Keywords:Straw residue, Crop emergence and growth, Physical impedance, Seed-soil, contact, Phytotoxicity, SOIL-TEMPERATURE, ESTABLISHMENT, TILLAGE, SURFACE, IMPACT

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