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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lincoln, Nebraska » Agroecosystem Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #230588

Title: Crop rotations that include legumes and reduced tillage improve the energy efficiency of crop production systems

item Rathke, G
item Wienhold, Brian
item Wilhelm, Wallace
item Diepenbrock, W

Submitted to: Scientific and Technical Review
Publication Type: Research Technical Update
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/14/2008
Publication Date: 8/14/2008
Citation: Rathke, G.W., Wienhold, B.J., Wilhelm, W.W., Diepenbrock, W. 2008. Crop Rotations that Include Legumes and Reduced Tillage Improve the Energy Efficiency of Crop Production Systems. Scientific and Technical Review. Available at:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Modern crop production requires large inputs of energy and these inputs represent a substantial cost. Management practices such as crop rotation and choice of tillage practice influence the energy balance for a production system. Legumes support bacteria that are capable of fixing nitrogen (N). This fixed N not only meets the crop needs but a portion is also available for subsequent crops thereby reducing the need for inorganic N fertilizer. Primary tillage practices vary in energy input requirements with no-tillage requiring %15 less energy than moldboard plow tillage (Rathke, 2007). Producers can utilize crop rotations that include a legume and reduced tillage intensity to improve the energy efficiency of their production systems. Publication(s) contributing to the NRRU Release shown above: Rathke, G.W.., B.J. Wienhold, W.W. Wilhelm, and W. Diepenbrock. 2007. Tillage and Rotation Effect on Corn-Soybean Energy Balances in Eastern Nebraska. Soil and Tillage Research 97:60-70.