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Water use in a modified summer fallow system on semiarid northern Great Plains

Uso del Agua en un Sistema de Surcos de Verano Modificados en los Grandes Planos del Norte Semiárido

Aase, J.K. and Pikul Jr, J.L. (2000) Water use in a modified summer fallow system on semiarid northern Great Plains. Agricultural Water Management. 43:345-357.

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Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is the major crop on semiarid northern Great Plains of the USA.
Attempts to introduce alternate crops have had limited success. Alternate fallow-spring wheat
rotation is the most common cultural practice. Our objective was to investigate water use and water
use efficiency and suitability of alternative crops in semiarid northern Great Plains agricultural
environment. The study was on glacial till Williams loam (fine-loamy mixed, Typic Argiboroll)
11 km north of Culbertson, MT. Plots, replicated four times in randomized blocks, were
12 m x 15 m. Rotations were: (1) fallow, sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.), barley (Hordeum
vulgare L), winter wheat; (2) fallow, safflower (Carthamus tinctorious L.), barley, winter wheat; (3)
fallow, buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench.), annual legume/grain forage crop, spring
wheat; (4) fallow, buckwheat, annual legume/grain forage crop, winter wheat; (5) fallow, spring
wheat; (6) continuous spring wheat. Soil water to 1.8 m depth was determined near time of seeding
and of harvest by neutron attenuation. The soil reached an upper drained limit of 0.20-0.25 m 3 m-3
water in a 1.8 m profile, equating to no more than 450 m water. Safflower and sunflower used ca.
500 mm water, more water than any of the other crops used. The greatest growing season water use
efficiency was captured by the annual forage crop. Except following safflower and sunflower, soil
water every spring was near the upper drained limit. Deep rooted crops can have a place in rotations
on the semiarid northern Great Plains. But one must be prepared for variable yields and potential
reduced yields following deep rooted crops, and for an occasional crop failure. Crop and soil
management for alternative crops differ from that of small grain management, requiring some
adaptation of management practices.

Item Type: Article
NWISRL Publication Number: 1011
Subjects: Mass Import - unclassified
Depositing User: Dan Stieneke
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2010 21:50
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2016 17:29
Item ID: 100