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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOP KNOWLEDGE BASE AND QUANTITATIVE TOOLS FOR OPTIMAL CROPS AND MGMT PRACTICES FOR VARIABLE LTD WATER CONDITIONS IN THE GREAT PLAINS

Location: Agricultural Systems Research Unit

Title: Sustainable dryland agroecosystems management

Authors
item Hansen, Neil -
item Sherrod, Lucretia
item Peterson, Gary -
item Westfall, Dwayne -
item Peairs, Frank -
item Poss, David
item Shaver, Timothy -
item Larson, Kevin -
item Thompson, Dennis -
item Ahuja, Lajpat

Submitted to: Experiment Station Bulletins
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: May 15, 2012
Publication Date: May 30, 2012
Citation: Hansen, N.C., Sherrod, L.A., Peterson, G.A., Westfall, D.G., Peairs, F.B., Poss, D.J., Shaver, T.M., Larson, K.J., Thompson, D.L., Ahuja, L.R. 2012. Sustainable dryland agroecosystems management. Experiment Station Bulletins. TB 13-02.

Interpretive Summary: The Dryland Agroecosystem Project with No-till management was established in the fall of 1985 with 1986 being the first harvest year. Grain and stover yields, crop residue amounts, soil water measurements, crop nutrient content and climate data have been reported annually in previously published technical bulletins. This publication covers the 2008 and 2009 data. In 2008 the precipitation was well below the long-term normal at all three sites. Wheat yields following fallow (WCF;WSF) were highest at all sites but rotations that were intensely cropped all had substantially lower wheat yields. Corn yields were mixed, with relatively good yields at Sterling and unexpectedly lower yields at Stratton. Corn and sorghum yields were not affected by rotation. Proso millet yields were average in 2008 for Sterling, above average at Stratton (except for a stand problem on summit), and no proso was planted at Walsh due to a lack of moisture at planting. In 2009 the precipitation was 45% higher than normal when averaged across the 3 sites. The winter wheat yields were average to above average at all three sites with the highest yields generally found in the WC(S)F rotation at all sites. The corn yields at Sterling were above the long-term mean for this site and the sorghum yields at Walsh were near the long-term means for that site. Stratton had below average yields given the excellent late summer precipitation; this was due to hail and corn root worm damage. Rotation had no effect on corn yields at Sterling or on sorghum yields at Walsh. Proso millet was replaced with forage millet at the Sterling and Stratton sites in 2009. Sterling averaged 2500 lbs/A and Stratton averaged 3800 lbs/A. Proso millet yields at Walsh were average on the toeslope but poor on side and summit.

Technical Abstract: The Dryland Agroecosystem Project with No-till management was established in the fall of 1985, with 1986 being the first harvest year. Grain and stover yields, crop residue amounts, soil water measurements, crop nutrient content and climate data have been reported annually in previously published technical bulletins. This publication covers the 2008 and 2009 data. This data completes the cycle that brings each system back to its starting point over the last 12 years of this project that has had wheat-fallow being replaced by wheat-corn/sorghum-millet, wheat-corn/sorghum-millet-fallow being replaced by wheat-wheat-corn/sorghum-millet. The last 12 year average yield of wheat over all rotations and landscapes was 25,29, and 24 Bu/A at Sterling, Stratton and Walsh, respectively. For corn/sorghum the 12 year average was 43, 50, and 40 Bu/A at Sterling, Stratton, and Walsh. Wheat from the WCF rotation on toeslope soils averaged 36, 42, and 33 Bu/A. Corn or sorghum from the WC/SF rotation on toeslope soils averaged over the past 12 years had 54, 70, and 48 Bu/A at Sterling, Stratton, and Walsh, respectively. Proso millet yield average over landscapes and rotations was 26, 22, and 15 Bu/A at Sterling, Stratton, and Walsh, respectively. Some of the more intensive cropping systems have not been successful during drought periods. Winter wheat planted after wheat or millet with no fallow period has had a high rate of crop failure and/or low yields.

Last Modified: 9/23/2014