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United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 2015

BEST COVER CROP AND TILLAGE MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES FOR DRYLAND WINTER-WHEAT CROPPING SYSTEMS IN NORTHERN HIGH PLAINS

Dryland Winter-Wheat

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Research, Education & Economics Information system (REEIS)

Titre : BEST COVER CROP AND TILLAGE MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES FOR DRYLAND WINTER-WHEAT CROPPING SYSTEMS IN NORTHERN HIGH PLAINS

Identification : WYO-565-16

Pays : Etats Unis

Durée : Oct 25, 2015 // Sep 30, 2018

Organisation Bénéficiaire : Plant Sciences UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING

Sponsoring Institution : National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Résumé
Dryland agriculture is important to the livelihoods of many people despite the fact that it has to be carried out in resource-limited and challenging environments. Winter wheat is the primary cash crop even though yields are low reaching 20 to 35 bushels per acre. No-till seems like a viable soil conservation practice, however, it does not have the magnitude of the impact as in other wheat-growing regions. Low adoption of this practice is often associated with even more reduced yields, low surface residue retention due to strong winds, reliance on high inputs for weed control and accumulation of salts beneath the soil surface. On the other hand, there are anecdotal reports of producers successfully using other soil conservation practices, namely cover crops, in western North Dakota, western Nebraska and eastern Colorado to increase soil organic matter content (SOM) and soil health, but published research articles provide limited information. There are some cases of local farmers who have experimented with cover crops and noticed improved benefits to soil health. It is still unknown how the synergistic effect of reducing tillage and using cover crops will work in this region, and whether one or the other practice should be recommended where soils are marginal and precipitation low and sporadic.Our goal is to evaluate whether cover crops, reduction of tillage or a combination of both can be viable practices for dryland crop rotations in the Central High Plains in order to improve soil quality and soil health. Specific objectives include : (1) Evaluate integrated cover crops/tillage scenarios on crop yields and, (2) Evaluate their effects on soil properties and processes that indicate soil quality and soil moisture. The region of interest falls into two distinctive precipitation zones where available soil moisture is either critically low or where slightly greater moisture allows for increased crop productivity and crop rotational diversity. New knowledge on management strategies that incorporate use of cover crops and variable tillage reducing practices are much needed as it is still unclear what are the main principles driving farmers' decisions to help optimize soil building and long-term soil health. This information will help develop recommendations for successful conversion to holistic management to conserve resources, improve profitability and sustainability. Eight participating farms will be located in two Wyoming wheat-production areas : the more arid, low-productivity Slater Bench southeast of Wheatland, and the more mesic, relatively productive Pine Bluffs/Albin area.

Objectifs
The Central High Plains have been largely left out of the "Soil Health Movement" because many of the central principles are not viewed as effective where fallow periods are perceived as necessary for moisture conservation. Dryland agriculture is very important to livelihoods in this region despite the resource-limited and challenging environment. Projections of increased recurrence of drought caused by variable precipitation and extreme winds during fall and early spring mean that the future of agricultural production may be even more challenging. Winter wheat is the primary cash crop even though typical yields are only 20 to 35 bushels per acre. Low biomass yields mean that no-till is not as effective at moisture conservation or SOM accumulation as in other regions, and few farmers practice reduced tillage. A few producers do successfully use no- or reduced-tillage practices, however, and some use cover crops on an opportunistic basis. But the few published research articles suggest that using cover crops in this region negatively impacts crop yields due to competition for water. It is unknown how synergistic effects of reducing tillage and planting cover crops will work in this region and whether one or the other practice should be most recommended.Major Goal : Evaluate whether cover crops, reduction of tillage or a combination of both can be viable practices for dryland crop rotations in the Central High Plains in order to improve soil quality and soil health.Specific objectives:Evaluate integrated cover crops/tillage scenarios on crop yields ;Evaluate their effects on soil properties and processes that indicate soil quality, soil moisture, insect populations, and weed competition ;Disseminate results to local, regional, and national audiences.Economic analyses are not included but all costs and revenues will be recorded and if these alternative cropping systems show promise a partial budget analysis will be performed.

Mots clés  : dryland winter wheat fallow semi-arid central high plains

Présentation : USDA (REEIS)

Page publiée le 25 juillet 2018