Submitted to: Direct Seeding Intensive Cropping Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/5/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A Interpretive Summary: The major farming practice in the arid and semiarid regions of the PNW is a winter wheat-fallow rotation. This system is characterized by soil erosion, reduced soil quality, high incidence of winter annual grass weeds and diseases. It is thought that continuous no-till spring cropping of cereals will reduce the number of fallow fields, increase residue cover on fields in the summer and fall, increase soil quality, and reduce the potential of wind blown dust. However, there are no current established best management practices for continuous, no-till spring cropping systems. Little information is known on nutrient management strategies, crop varieties, crop planting date and rate, and pest problems associated with dryland spring cropping systems. Therefore, a team of research scientists from four agencies that are supported by Universities, federal agencies, agrobusinesses, commodity groups and growers have begun research to develop pbest management practices for spring cropping systems that will be economically feasible, environmentally sound, and replace the erosive traditional winter wheat-fallow system. This in turn will increase long- term agricultural productivity because of increased air, soil, and water quality.
Technical Abstract: In the fall of 1995 an integrated/multidisciplinary long-term field project was initiated in the 11-inch rainfall area near Ralston, WA. The objective of the study is to develop an economically and environmentally feasible no- till, continuous spring cropping system to replace or supplement the traditional winter wheat-summer fallow system. The multidisciplinary, long-term research project has two components, each with their separate, but coordinated objectives. The first component includes several small satellite studies for determining fertility, pest management, and other agronomic practices for producing specific market classes of spring wheat and spring barley in conservation tillage systems. The main research component is a field-size, long-term integrated spring crop management project with emphasis on spring wheat management. A team of 14 scientists and extension personnel from nine disciplines has been assembled to address sthese interdisciplinary research issues. The second component is a large- scale, five-year field project that will evaluate four cropping systems: a) soft white winter wheat/fallow; b) soft white spring wheat/fallow; c) continuous hard red spring wheat; and d) hard red spring wheat/barley rotation. The soft white wheats have been selected for use in the fallow cropping systems because high soil moisture levels will improve grain yields and lower grain protein contents. Hard red spring wheat was selected for the continuous spring wheat/barley systems to take advantage of elevated protein levels in grain produced under limited moisture. A 20- acre site in the semiarid region has been procured to conduct this field study. Sufficient land is available to grow every crop every year. For most operations, field-size equipment will be used.