|Pikul Jr, Joseph|
Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/2/2003
Publication Date: 1/1/2004
Citation: PIKUL JR, J.L., AASE, J.K., COCHRAN, V.L. WATER USE AND BIOMASS PRODUCTION OF OAT-PEA HAY AND LENTIL IN A SEMIARID CLIMATE. AGRONOMY JOURNAL 96:298-304. 2004.
Interpretive Summary: Water limits crop production in the semiarid northern Great Plains and consequently suitability of alternative crops for the traditional semi-arid wheat production areas remains a question. Objectives were to compare water use and biomass production of an oat-pea mix grown for hay to that of black lentil grown as a green manure. Annual oat-pea hay produced greater quantities of plant mass and had a greater water use efficiency than black lentil. Further, the quality of oat-pea hay remained unchanged (number 2 hay) as the crop matured from bloom in pea to the soft dough stage of oat. This crop characteristic provides a greater window of opportunity in which field harvesting of quality hay might be completed. In this paper we have compared water use characteristics of oat-pea hay and black lentil. Green manures may ultimately improve soil condition, however costs associated with this practice may outweigh perceived benefits. Oat-pea hay can provide a cropping option that efficiently uses water and may improve soil condition because of the inclusion of a legume in the crop rotation. A rotation that includes oat-pea hay seems to fit the growing conditions and needs of producers in the northern Great Plains because of the potential to improve soil condition and a regional demand for high quality forage.
Technical Abstract: Water limits crop production in the semiarid northern Great Plains and consequently suitability of alternative crops for the traditional semi-arid wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) production areas remains a question. Objectives were to compare water use of an oat-pea (Avena sativa L. ¿ Pisum sativum L.) mix grown for hay (OPH) to that of black lentil (Lens culinaris Medikus cv. Indianhead) grown as a green manure (BL). Water use (WU) and plant biomass for OPH and BL were measured on field plots near Culbertson, MT (site 1) during 4 years. Soil water to 1.8 m depth was measured by neutron attenuation. Precision weighing lysimeters were used at site 2, located 65 km SE of site 1, to measure WU during 4 years. Soil at both sites was a Williams loam (fine-loamy, mixed, superactive, frigid Typic Argiustolls). Biomass of BL and OPH were measured bi-weekly on sub-plots. Crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and acid detergent fiber (ADF) were measured and relative feed value (RFV) calculated. Biomass accumulation was 34 % and 46 % greater under OPH compared to BL at sites 1 and 2, respectively. Biomass accumulated at a rate of 14 kg ha-1 mm-1 of water used under BL and 23 kg ha-1 mm-1 under OPH at site 1. Biomass accumulated at a rate of 21 kg ha-1 mm-1 under BL and 29 kg ha-1 mm-1 under OPH at site 2. Hay quality (RFV), at full bloom in peas, averaged (sites 1&2) 116 (number 2 hay) and this did not change appreciably as the crop matured to the soft dough stage in oats. A rotation that includes OPH seems to fit the growing conditions and needs of producers in the northern Great Plains because of the potential to improve soil condition with a legume and a regional demand for high quality forage.