Soil organic matter and production of ears of green corn after four years under tillage systems and previous crops in costal tablelands
The current study aimed to evaluate the effects of different tillage systems on soil organic matter (SOM) contents and green corn yield (total ear weight) of an Argissolo Vermelho-Amarelo (Ultissol) in Coastal tablelands of northeast Brazil. The experiment was arranged as a strip plot design with three replications. Three tillage practices [conventional tillage (CT), minimum tillage (MT) and no-tillage (NT)] were laid out as a whole plot each (830 m²). Then, each plot was equally split into 12 experimental units (60 m²), distant 1 x 10 m from each other, where in four cover crops [pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.), sunn hemp (Crotalaria juncea L.), beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) and peanut (Arachis hypogeae) were seedling previous to corn cultivation. Neither cover crops, nor tillage practices affected SOM contents at 0.20 m depth. An exception was observed on beans plots in which CT resulted on the lowest SOM content (8.5 dag kg-1) at 0-10 cm soil layer. Regarding green corn ears yield, CT adoption also resulted in lower weight (4.11 t ha-1) than those on NT (7.65 t ha-1), regardless of cover crop. On the other hand, the influence of cover crops on green corn yield relied upon tillage practices. Peanuts and sunn hemp performed best to improve corn yield in CT; peanuts and beans increased by 14 % the green corn ears yield in MT, while sunn hemp resulted in the highest total ear weight (9.42 t ha-1). Linear correlation of Pearson was significant for SOM and productivity green maize ears in minimum tillage beans (p <0.001; r = 0.996). After four years of absence or reduced soil disturbance, there was no increase in SOM levels. The plowing appears to be important for increasing the entry of C soil and chemical protection SOM of Argissols mainly in the surface layer of Coastal tablelands in brazilian northeast. Although the NT did not provide higher levels of SOM, the yield of green maize in commercial was significantly higher when adopting conservation systems.