Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/15/2011
Publication Date: 12/15/2010
Citation: Elliott, N.C. 2010. Introduction - Wheat Production in the Great Plains. In: Peairs, F. and Armenta, R., editors. Wheat Production and Pest Management for the Great Plains Region. CSU Extension XCM235. In cooperation with Kansas State University, Oklahoma State University, Texas Agrilife Research and Extension Center, University of Nebraska and USDA-ARS. p. 1-6.
Technical Abstract: Wheat is especially important for dryland crop production in the Great Plains where the low precipitation levels and/or high variability in precipitation that characterize the region make production of less drought tolerant crops challenging. In dryland production systems wheat is often grown predominately in a wheat-fallow rotation in the semiarid High Plains, and in a continuous, year after year, production system to the east, where precipitation levels are higher. These 'wheat only' cropping systems are effective in producing an acceptable amount of grain while limiting the risk of crop failure. However, suboptimal soil moisture and land use efficiencies, high soil erosion, and costs associated with controlling pests such as the Russian wheat aphid, Diuraphis noxia, greenbug, Schizaphis graminum, and winter annual grasses, are drawbacks of wheat only production. Diversified crop rotations can reduce annual yield variability and allow for more effective pest control, especially for weedy winter annual grasses, which are a persistent problem in wheat only production systems. These two factors may be a key to producers considering changes in their crop production systems. All other factors being equal, reducing yield variability over time and making pest control more effective and less costly, both potential outcomes of diversifying crop production systems in the Great Plains, will lead to greater profitability. This wheat production and pest management guide outlines in detail best practices for wheat production and management of insects, weeds, and diseases in diversified and continuous wheat production systems in the most important wheat growing region in the United States, the Great Plains.