This research was conducted at the University of Debrecen Látókép Research Station and is part of an ongoing long-term polyfactorial experiment. The impact of three tillage systems (Mouldboard plowing-MT, Strip tillage-ST, Ripper tillage-RT) and two levels of fertilizer treatments (N80 kg ha-1, N160 kg ha...-1) along with a control (N0 kg ha-1) on the yield of maize hybrids (Armagnac- FAO 490 & Loupiac-FAO 380) cultivated in rotation with winter wheat was evaluated during a two-year period (2017–2018).
Amongst the three tillage treatments evaluated, ripper tillage (RT) had the highest average yield (10.14 t ha-1) followed by mouldboard tillage (MT) and strip tillage (ST) with 9.84 and 9.21 t ha-1 respectively. Yield difference between RT and MT was not significant (P>0.05), as compared to ST (P<0.05). Soil moisture content varied significantly with tillage practices and was highest in ST, followed by RT and MT (ST>RT>MT). Yield of RT was 7–9% higher than MT in monoculture plots, while MT reign superior in biculture plots (monoculture: RT>MT>ST; biculture: MT>RT>ST).
A positive interaction between tillage and fertilization was observed, with higher yield variation (CV=40.70) in the non-fertilized (N0) plots, compared to those which received the N80 (CV=19.50) and N160 kg ha-1 (CV=11.59) treatments.
Incremental yield gain from increase fertilizer dosages was significantly higher in monoculture, compared to biculture. There was no significant difference in yield between N160 and N80 in the biculture plots (12.29 vs 12.02 t ha-1). However, in monoculture plots, N160 yield was 23% higher than the N80 kg ha-1 (N160=11.74 vs N80=9.56 t ha-1).
Mean yield of maize in rotation with winter wheat was 28% (2.47 tons) higher than monoculture maize. The greatest benefit of crop rotation was observed in the control plots (N0) with an incremental yield gain of 4.39 tons ha-1 over monculture maize (9.92 vs 5.43 t ha-1).
Yield increased with higher fertilizer dosages in irrigated plots. Fertilizer application greatly increased the yield of maize and accounted for 48.9% of yield variances. The highest yield (11.92 t ha-1) was obtained with N160 kg ha-1 treatment, followed by N80 kg ha-1 (10.38 t ha-1) and N0 kg ha-1 (6.89 t ha-1) respectively.
Overall mean yield difference between the two hybrids was not statistically significant, however, yield of FAO 380 was 3.9% higher (9.06 vs. 8.72 t ha-1) than FAO 490 in monoculture plots, while in biculture plots, FAO 490 was 4.1% higher than FAO 380.
Average yield in 2018 was 13.6% (1.24 t ha-1) higher than 2017 for the same set of agrotechnical inputs, thus, highlighting the significant effect of cropyear.
Armagnac (FAO 490) cultivated in rotation with winter wheat, under ripper tillage and N80 kg ha-1 is the best combination of treatments for optimum yield.
The aim of this study was to determine the combination of treatment levels of crop management factors which can optimize and sustain maize yield under varying climatic conditions. The effect of winter wheat forecrop, three tillage systems (Mouldboard-MT, Strip-ST, Ripper-RT), two planting densities (60,000 & 80,000 plants ha-1...>), three fertilizer levels (N0-control, N80, N160 kg ha-1) with four replications in irrigated and non-irrigated treatments were evaluated over a five year period, 2015–2019. The obtained results revealed that growing season rainfall positively correlated with yield, whereas, temperature negatively correlated with yield. Impact of adverse weather on yield was less severe in biculture, irrigated plots, at lower planting density (60,000), lower fertilizer rate (N80) and in RT and ST, compared to MT. In years with favorable rainfall, yields of MT and RT were significantly (P<0.05) higher than ST. However, in a less favorable year, such as 2015, with 299 mm growing season rainfall and the lowest July rainfall (59% below mean) there was no significant difference (P>0.05) in yield among the three tillage treatments. Higher planting density (80,000), and fertilization rate (N160) in tandem with MT are treatments combination conducive for high yield under favorable climatic conditions, whereas, in years with low rainfall and high temperatures, RT and ST offer alternative to MT for optimum yield with 60,000 plants ha-1 and N80 treatment level. Crop year effect accounted for 20.7% of yield variance, fertilization 35.8%, forecrop 12.8%, plant density 3.4%, tillage 1.2% and irrigation <1%. It is conclusive that with proper selection of the appropriate levels of agrotechnological inputs the adverse effect of weather on yield can be mitigated.