Submitted to: Proceedings from Dynamic Cropping Systems: Prinicples, Processes, and Challenges
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2003
Publication Date: 8/4/2003
Citation: LYON, D.J., BALTENSPERGER, D.D., BURGENER, P.A., NIELSEN, D.C. FLEXIBLE SUMMER FALLOW: A DYNAMIC CROPPING SYSTEMS CONCEPT FOR THE CENTRAL GREAT PLAINS. In J.D. Hanson and J.M. Krupinsky (eds.), Proceedings from Dynamic Cropping Systems: Principles, Processes, and Challenges. 2003. p. 265-268. Aug. 4-7, 2003. Bismarck, N.D. Interpretive Summary: Although summer fallow stabilizes dryland crop yields, it degrades soil through increased erosion potential and limits profitability. This paper discusses the potential for making flexible crop choice decisions regarding short season spring crops based on soil water and economics. Such a system could respond to the highly variable climatic and economic conditions existing in this region as producers transition from summer crop production back to winter wheat.
Technical Abstract: Summer fallow has played a significant role in dryland cropping systems in the Central Great Plains for many years. Although it helps to stabilize crop yields, summer fallow jeopardizes the long-term sustainability of dryland systems by degrading the soil resource and limiting profitability. We argue that a dynamic system involving flexible fallow, whereby a grower's decision to transition from a summer crop to winter wheat with a short-duration spring crop or summer fallow is based on several dynamic factors including soil water and economics, would be preferable to a static system incapable of responding to the highly variable climatic and economic scenarios indicative of the region.