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ARS Home » Plains Area » Akron, Colorado » Central Great Plains Resources Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #335017

Research Project: Adaptation of Dryland Cropping Systems for the Central Great Plains Region to Extreme Variation of Weather and Climate

Location: Central Great Plains Resources Management Research

Title: Replacing fallow with forage triticale in dryland crop rotations increases profitability

Author
item Nielsen, David
item MICELI-GARCIA, JUAN - Li-Cor, Inc
item LYON, DREW - Washington State University

Submitted to: Field Crops Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/3/2016
Publication Date: 1/10/2017
Publication URL: https://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/5613044
Citation: Nielsen, D.C., Miceli-Garcia, J.J., Lyon, D.J. 2017. Replacing fallow with forage triticale in dryland crop rotations increases profitability. Field Crops Research. 203:227-237.

Interpretive Summary: The fallow period between corn harvest and wheat planting in a wheat-corn-fallow system is inefficient in storing precipitation and can leave the soil exposed to wind erosion. Replacing the fallow period with spring-planted triticale for forage production can protect the soil against wind erosion and offers the potential for better use of precipitation and extra income generated from an additional crop. This 3-yr study conducted at Akron, CO and Sidney, NE found that over a wide range of growing conditions wheat yields were reduced by 17% when triticale replaced fallow, but corn yields were unaffected. Net income was increased by 17% for the wheat-corn-triticale system compared with the wheat-corn-fallow system. The system with triticale can be recommended over the system with the fallow phase provided that there is an available market for the triticale forage produced.

Technical Abstract: A common dryland rotational cropping system in the semi-arid central Great Plains of the U.S. is wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)-corn (Zea mays L.)-fallow (WCF). However, the 12-month fallow period following corn production has been shown to be relatively inefficient in storing precipitation during the summer months, and in some years could leave the soil vulnerable to wind erosion. The objective of this experiment was to determine the effect on system productivity when the fallow period in a WCF rotation was replaced with spring-planted forage triticale (X Triticosecale rimpaui Wittm.). The 3-yr study was conducted at Akron, CO and Sidney, NE under both dryland and very limited irrigation conditions. Over a wide range of wheat water use (361-591 mm) wheat yields averaged 17% lower when triticale (T) replaced fallow, primarily because of reductions in water content at wheat planting. Corn yields were unaffected by triticale replacing fallow. Overall system productivity as quantified by system net returns was 17% greater for WCT than for WCF. A WCT system can be recommended over WCF provided that there is an available market for the triticale forage produced.