Enhancing Environmental Stewardship of
Corn Silage Systems with Cover Crops
Hatch Multistate Research Project (NC 1178)
Formerly: “Impacts of Crop Residue Removal on Soils”
Laura C. Adams2, Francisco J. Arriaga1, and Michael Bertram3
1-Assistant Professor; 2-M.S. Candidate; 3-Superintendent
Dept. of Soil Science, and Arlington Agricultural Research Station
University of Wisconsin-Madison
2017 Soil and Water Conservation Society Annual Conference
• Dairy is an important agricultural sector in
Wisconsin ($43.4 billion 2016).
• Milking cows need high quality feed, such as corn
silage and alfalfa.
• After corn silage, manure is commonly applied to
the field. Challenge for phosphorus (P)
management since these soils are prone to greater
erosion and nutrient runoff risks.
• Can reduced tillage and cover crops help?
• Determine the impact of using a cereal rye as a
cover crop and no-tillage on sediment and
phosphorus losses from corn silage production.
Plot Size = 45’ x 500’ = 0.52 acre
Experiment Site = 555’ x 1740’ = 22.17 acre
T1 NT Cover Crop
T2 NT Cover Crop – Harvest
T3 NT No Cover Crop
T4 CT Cover Crop
T5 CT Cover Crop – Harvest
T6 CT No Cover Crop
• Oscillating nozzle rainfall simulator
• 3-inches per hour for 60 min. (7.6 cm/hr)
• Simulations conducted in June 2016, October 2016,
and April 2017
• Used deionized water
What are we learning?
• For the conditions of our
• Cover crop had a greater impact in
reducing runoff, sediment and
sediment bound phosphorus.
• Dissolved phosphorus fractions
need other approaches for
• Work continues to link soil health
parameters to water quality.
Funding support: UW CALS Hatch Program, Agronomic Science Foundation, and the Monsanto Corporation.