No-till corn growers know that their crops benefit from the practice. Long-term no-till practices have been shown to improve biological and microbial activity in fields, breaking down crop residue and releasing nutrients back into the soil for future crops.
Research has also shown no-till residue reduces evaporation, saving 3 to 5 inches of water over the whole growing season. This is especially helpful later in the growing season when precipitation is reduced.
However, the same residue that can benefit a crop can also cause emergence stress in cold, wet springs if not properly managed. The issue can be further compounded in no-till continuous corn fields, where there can be a potential for diseases to harbor on last year’s crop residue. Also, depending on how much crop debris is left on the field, and how uniform, it may be more difficult for the soil temperature to warm enough to provide that perfect environment for a corn seedling.