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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: CROP SEQUENCE EFFECTS OF TEN CROPS IN THE NORTHERN GREAT PLAINS

Authors
item Krupinsky, Joseph
item Tanaka, Donald
item Merrill, Stephen
item Liebig, Mark
item Hanson, Jonathan

Submitted to: Agricultural Systems
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 24, 2005
Publication Date: March 1, 2006
Citation: Krupinsky, J.M., Tanaka, D.L., Merrill, S.D., Liebig, M.A., Hanson, J.D. 2006. Crop sequence effects of ten crops in the northern great plains. Agricultural Systems 88:227-254.

Interpretive Summary: Long-term cropping systems require detailed information on management practices. Because the sequence in which crops are grown is an important management practice that influences crop performance, research was done to determine the advantages and/or disadvantages of various crop sequences. A team of scientists researched the impact of crop sequence on ten crops (barley, canola, crambe, dry bean, dry pea, flax, safflower, soybean, spring wheat, and sunflower). Crop sequence effects were evaluated by measuring crop seed yield, soil coverage by crop residue, soil water, surface soil properties, and plant diseases. Two years were required to establish a crop by crop residue matrix (crop matrix), in which all ten crops were seeded on the crop residue of the same ten crops. The seed yield of only three crops (crambe, safflower, and soybean) out the ten crops evaluated was influenced by the preceding crop in an above average precipitation year. The seed yield of eight crops (canola, crambe, dry bean, flax, safflower, soybean, spring wheat, and barley) was influenced by the preceding crop in an average precipitation year. Some of the lowest seed yields were obtained when the same crop was grown two years in a row. In general, the three legume crops (dry bean, dry pea, and soybean) had positive effects on the next crop in contrast to the other non-leguminous crops, which usually had negative effects. However, sunflower was an exception among the non-leguminous crops; in one year, sunflower had positive effects on the next crop compared with canola or crambe, which had negative effects. Crop sequences composed of small cereal grains had the highest soil coverage by residue while sequences of two broadleaf crops had considerably lower coverage. Soil water use among crops varied, ranging from sunflower with the numerically highest soil water use to dry pea with the least. Significant changes in surface soil properties due to crops were generally not detected in this short-term project. Significant differences in the incidence of Sclerotinia disease (white mold) for canola, crambe, safflower, and sunflower within the crop matrix were not detected. During the third and forth year spring wheat and sunflower, respectively, were seeded over the crop matrix. During the third year spring wheat yields increased following 23 and 19 crop sequence treatments out of a possible 100 at site 1 and site 2, respectively, compared to the continuous wheat treatment. All crop sequence treatments that yielded better than the continuous wheat treatment were comprised of mostly non-cereal crops, demonstrating the positive impact of crop diversity on cereal crop production. The severity of leaf spot diseases on spring wheat were affected by crop sequence and fungal spore production was greatest on the continuous wheat treatment. Even though decreases in leaf spot disease severity and modest yield increases were obtained with some crop sequence treatments, significant yield increases due to reduced leaf spot disease severity were not obtained under our conditions. During the fourth year the highest incidence of Sclerotinia basal stalk rot for sunflower was detected in plots where crambe was grown two years earlier.

Technical Abstract: Dynamic cropping systems, which involve a long-term strategy of annual crop sequencing, require detailed information on management components known to influence crop performance. Considering that proper sequencing of crops is an important component for successful dynamic cropping systems, a research project was undertaken to determine the advantages and/or disadvantages of previous crop and crop residues for numerous crop sequences. A multi-disciplinary team of scientists evaluated crop sequence effects of ten crops (barley [Hordeum vulgare L.], dry bean [Phaseolus vulgaris L.], canola [Brassica napus L.], crambe [Crambe abyssinica Hochst. ex R.E. Fr.], flax [Linum usitatissimum L.], dry pea [Pisum sativum L.], safflower [Carthamus tinctorius L.], soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.], sunflower, and spring wheat) on crop seed yield, soil coverage by residue, soil water use, surface soil properties, and plant diseases in central North Dakota. Two years were required to establish a crop by crop residue matrix (crop matrix), in which all ten crops were seeded on the crop residue of the same ten crops. During the second year when ten crops were evaluated with a crop matrix the seed yield of only three crops (crambe, safflower, and soybean) was influenced by the preceding crop in an above average moisture year. The seed yield of eight crops (canola, crambe, dry bean, flax, safflower, soybean, spring wheat, and barley) was influenced by the preceding crop at in a more average precipitation year. Some of the lowest seed yields were obtained when a crop was seeded on its own respective residue. A synthesis of seed yield data from a given year provided overall values for positive and negative effects of crops and crop residue on subsequent crops. In general, the three legume crops had positive effects in contrast to non-leguminous crops, which usually had negative effects. However, sunflower was an exception among the non-leguminous crops; sunflower was positive for subsequent crops compared with canola or crambe, which had negative effects. Crop sequences composed of small cereal grains had the highest soil coverage by residue while sequences of two dicotyledonous species had considerably lower coverage. Soil water use among crops varied, ranging from sunflower with the numerically highest soil water use to dry pea with the least. Significant changes in surface soil properties due to crops were generally not detected in this short-term project. Given the variation in Sclerotinia disease incidence for canola, crambe, safflower, and sunflower within the crop matrix, it was difficult to detect significant differences based on the previous crop. During the third and forth year spring wheat and sunflower, respectively, were seeded over the crop matrix. During the third year, when spring wheat was seeded over a crop matrix, spring wheat yields increased following 23 and 19 crop sequence treatments out of a possible 100 at site 1 and site 2, respectively, compared to the continuous wheat treatment. All crop sequence treatments that yielded better than the continuous wheat treatment were comprised of mostly non-cereal crops, demonstrating the positive impact of crop diversity on cereal crop production. The severity of leaf spot diseases on spring wheat were affected by crop sequence and fungal spore production was greatest on the continuous wheat treatment. Even though decreases in leaf spot disease severity and modest yield increases were obtained with some crop sequence treatments, significant yield increases due to reduced leaf spot disease severity were not obtained under our conditions. But differences were evident two years later when the highest incidence of Sclerotinia basal stalk rot for sunflower was detected in plots where crambe was grown two years earlier.

Last Modified: 9/1/2014
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