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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Pendleton, Oregon » Columbia Plateau Conservation Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #64680

Title: DETERMINING SEED-ZONE SOIL WATER CONTENT.

Author
item Wilkins, Dale
item WYSOCKI, DON

Submitted to: Pendleton Station Field Day
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/12/1995
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Determining if there is adequate soil water in the seed-zone for winter wheat establishment in Columbia Plateau fields is a problem. Dry seedbeds result in poor crop establishment and consequently reduced erosion protection from crop cover. A soil water sampling technique was developed to determine if there was sufficient soil water for wheat seedling emergence. This technique will benefit society by reducing soil erosion through timely seeding of winter wheat in highly erodible fields.

Technical Abstract: Early winter wheat seeding in summer-fallowed fields is used by some farmers in the Columbia Plateau to provide crop cover for soil erosion protection. Time of seeding is critical because early seeding favors some wheat diseases but valuable seed-zone water may be lost through delays. In dry years, green cover development is insufficient for adequate erosion control if crop establishment is not timely. A field soil water sampling procedure was developed to determine if sufficient seed-zone soil water existed in summer-fallowed fields for winter wheat seedling emergence. Eight summer-fallowed fields were sampled in the dry fall of 1994. Compositing five samples from each of two depths (0 to 3 and 3 to 6 inches) from 8 to 10 representative locations within a field gave a reliable measure of seed-zone soil water content and variability.