Correlation of corn and soybean grain yield with topography and soil properties

  • Kravchenko A
  • Bullock D
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Abstract

Analysis of yield variability is an important issue in agricultural research, and topographical land features are among the most impor- tant yield-affecting factors. The objective of this study was to deter- mine how useful topographical information can be, alone or together with selected soil properties, for explaining yield variability on a field scale. Yield–topography–soil relationships were analyzed using dense corn (Zea mays L.) and soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] yield data collected from 1994 to 1997, a detailed terrain map, and relatively densely sampled soil organic matter (OM) content, cation exchange capacity (CEC), and P andK soil test concentrations from eight fields in central Illinois and eastern Indiana. Soils of the Illinois fields were classified as Haplaquolls and Argiudolls; soils of the Indiana fields were classified as Hapludalfs. Topographical land features used in the study included elevation, measured with survey grid global positioning system (GPS) and land-based laser, and slope, curvature, and flow accumulation, derived from elevation data. Soil properties explained about 30% of yield variability (from 5 to 71% for different fields), withOMcontent influencing yield the most. The cumulative effect of the topographical features explained about20%of the yield variability (6–54%). Elevation had the most influence on yield, with higher yields consistently observed at lower landscape positions. Curvature, slope, and flow accumulation significantly affected yield only in certain con- ditions, such as extreme topographical locations (undrained depres- sions or eroded hilltops) combined with very high or low precipitation. Soil properties and topography explained about 40% of yield variabil- ity (10–78%). S

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