Submitted to: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/1/1995
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: This study was undertaken because the practice of summer fallowing depletes water, energy and soil and it was hypothesized that paratillage may positively impact water storage and allow annual cropping in areas traditionally practicing summer fallow. It was found that indeed, paratillage did significantly increase overwinter storage of water. It is hoped that these findings will allow dryland growers to utilize better management practices for increased crop yields and provide improved conservation of natural resources.
Technical Abstract: Summer fallowing wastes water, energy, and soil. Summer fallowing is practiced because it often increases or stabilizes cereal grain yield in low-rainfall climates. The effect of crop residue management and paratillage (Paraplow tillage) on water storage was determined in a summer fallow 35 cm (13.8 in) precipitation zone to assess the feasibility for annual cropping. Paratillage and crop residues significantly increased overwinter water storage. Averaged over the three residue treatments, four replication, and 3 years, paratillage increased the overwinter soil water storage by 8.2 +/- 4.9 cm (3.2+/-1.9 in) over that not paratilled. Similarly, averaged over the two tillages, the standing residue increased the overwinter soil water storage 1.0 +/- 3.7 cm (0.4+/-1.4 in) over the chopped stubble and 6.3+/-3.0 cm (2.5 +/- 1.2 in) over the burned stubble. The increased water storage did not result in significant increases in barley yields in these study plots. The increased water storage of these practices over an entire field may allow economic annual cropping in some cases.