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ARS Home » Plains Area » Brookings, South Dakota » Integrated Cropping Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #325999

Research Project: Soil and Crop Management Systems for Improved Natural Resource Quality and Efficiency

Location: Integrated Cropping Systems Research

Title: Benefits of annual and perennial forages in row crop rotations

Author
item Riedell, Walter
item Osborne, Shannon

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/22/2016
Publication Date: 3/1/2016
Citation: Riedell, W.E., Osborne, S.L. 2016. Benefits of annual and perennial forages in row crop rotations. p. 134-138. In: Proc. Great Plains Soil Fertility Conf. Vol. 16. Denver, CO. 1-2 March 2016. International Plant Nutrition Institute, Brookings SD.

Interpretive Summary: Development of crop rotations that support sustainable agriculture depends on understanding complex relationships between soils, crops, and yield. Objectives were to measure how soil chemical and physical attributes as well as corn and soybean stover mineral concentrations, grain yield, and seed mineral concentrations responded to increasing the diversity of crops grown in rotation by including annual and perennial forages. Alfalfa included in rotation increased soil nitrate-N, reduced soil bulk density, increased grain yield and protein in both corn and soybean phases. When oat/pea hay was included in the rotation, soil properties as well as corn and soybean characteristics behaved similarly to those observed in the corn-soybean rotation. Thus, diversification of rotations with annual forages was neutral in terms of soil and crop parameters while diversification with perennial forages enhanced soil properties and yield.

Technical Abstract: Development of crop rotations that support sustainable agriculture depends on understanding complex relationships between soils, crops, and yield. Objectives were to measure how soil chemical and physical attributes as well as corn and soybean stover dry weight, stover mineral concentrations, seed yield, and seed mineral concentrations responded to continuous corn monoculture (C-C), corn-soybean 2-yr rotation (C-S); corn-soybean-oat/pea hay 3-yr rotation (C-S-O/P); and corn-soybean-oat/pea hay underseeded with alfalfa-alfalfa-alfalfa 5-yr rotation (C-S-O/P-A-A). Rotation treatments under no-till soil management were established in 1997 and corn measurements were made during 2008-2011 while soybean measurements were made during 2009-2010. Alfalfa included in rotation increased soil NO3-N and reduced soil bulk density during subsequent corn and soybean phases. When compared to C-C rotation, rotation treatments of C-S, C-S-O/P and C-S-O/P-A-A produced greater corn yield while C-S-O/P and C-S-O/P-A-A also increased seed protein. Soybean seed yield was about 10% greater in the C-S-O/P-A-A rotation treatment than in the other rotation treatments. Soybean seed protein concentrations were about 3% greater under the C-S-O/P-A-A rotation than under the C-S rotation while that of C-S-O/P was intermediate. Thus, diversification of crop rotations with annual forages was neutral in terms of soil and crop parameters while diversification with perennial forages enhanced soil properties and yield.