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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Crop Rotations and Residue Management

Authors
item Lyon, Drew - UNIV OF NEBRASKA
item Vigil, Merle
item Nielsen, David

Submitted to: High Plains Sunflower Production Handbook
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: February 15, 2005
Publication Date: July 25, 2005
Citation: Lyon, D., Vigil, M.F., Nielsen, D.C. 2005. Crop rotations and residue management. High Plains Sunflower Production Handbook. P. 35-37.

Interpretive Summary: Nearly 600,000 acres of sunflower are grown in the Central Great Plains Region. Because sunflower is so efficient in using stored soil water, these acres are typically summer fallowed the following year after the sunflower is harvested in the fall. This summer fallow period is needed to to replace water used by the sunflower crop and prevents the risk of drought failure in the subsequent crop. However, sunflower-fallow acres have less surface crop residues than other dryland crops and that lack of adequate residue cover makes them vulnerable to wind and water erosion. The objective of this study, is to quantify fallow management techniques on residue durability and residue quantity after the fallow season has ended. This writeup provides the region producers the most recent information regarding the management of sunflower fallow and summarizes research with no-till experiments at Akron, Colorado, Sidney Nebraska, and Colby Kansas. Fallow acres managed with no-till and sweep tillage were compared at the three locations. Residue cover and residue weight was measured over time as affected by fallow management. In Nebraska, residue cover decreased from 39% to 4% in a sweep tilled system. At Akron residue cover decreased from 46% to 15 % in sweep tilled fallow but only decreased from 45% to 29 % in no-till managed fallow. These experiments suggest that no-till managed fallow will provide an acceptable amount of residue cover for protecting sunflower fallow acres from wind and water erosion. And they provide information/answers for producers anticipating sunflower fallow management in the region.

Technical Abstract: Nearly 600,000 acres of sunflower are grown in the Central Great Plains Region. Because sunflower is so efficient in using stored soil water these acres are typically summer fallowed after the sunflower is harvested in the fall. Sunflower-fallow acres have less surface crop residues than other dryland crops and are potentially highly erodible. The objective of this study, is to quantify fallow management techniques on residue quantity and quality after the fallow season has ended. This writeup provides the region producers the most recent information regarding the management of sunflower fallow and summarizes research with no-till experiments at Akron, Colorado, Sidney Nebraska, and Colby Kansas. Fallow acres managed with no-till and sweep tillage were compared at the three locations. Residue cover and residue weight was measured over time as affected by fallow management. In Nebraska, residue cover decreased from 39% to 4% in a sweep tilled system. At Akron residue cover decreased from 46% to 15 % in sweep tilled fallow but only decreased from 45% to 29 % in no-till managed fallow. These experiments suggest that no-till managed fallow will provide an acceptable amount of residue cover for protecting sunflower fallow acres from wind and water erosion. And they provide information/answers for producers anticipating sunflower fallow management in the region.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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