Long-term crop residue dynamics in no-till cropping systems under semi-arid conditions

Book Title: NA
Year Published: 2006
Month Published: March/April
Author: C. Cantero-Martinez, D.G. Westfall, L.A. Sherrod, and G.A. Peterson
Book Group Author: NA

The presence of crop residue is an important component of dryland cropping systems management in the semiarid environment where soil erosion by wind is a major soil degradation process. Residue also affects precipitation capture and runoff. Long-term residue quantity dynamics of different cropping systems has not been studied in the semi-arid environment of the western Great Plains. Long-term studies were conducted in eastern Colorado, USA to determine the interaction of no-till cropping systems, soils, and climatic gradient on the production, retention, and disappearance of crop residue over a 12-year period. The cropping systems evaluated were winter wheat (Triticum aestivum)-summer fallow (WF), winter wheat-maize (Zea mays) or sorghum (Sorghum bicolor)-summer fallow (WC/SF), winter wheat-maize/sorghum-millet (Panicum miliaceum)-summer fallow (WC/SMF), and continuous cropping (CC). A soil surface residue base was achieved in a few years (four to five) and changed little over time. However, as cropping intensity increased the total crop residue retained on the soil surface increased as the proportion of fallow time decreased; a general trend was for residue levels to increase slowly. However, in the winter wheat-summer fallow system residue levels showed a trend to decrease after the initial base was achieved. Greater residue production and retention occurred on the toeslope soil position because these soils are deeper, have greater water holding capacity, and receive run-on water from upslope positions. Residue disappearance was less in the fallow period before maize planting compared to before wheat planting due to the greater fallow period, which included summer fallow in the wheat system. Residue loss was greater during the crop production periods as compared to the fallow periods. The levels of residue present on the soil surface in our intensive no-till cropping systems were generally adequate to control erosion by wind. However, at our high potential evapotranspiration site the residue levels were "marginal" for adequate wind erosion abatement, particularly in the winter wheat-summer fallow system. A combination of no-till management and increased cropping intensity (greater than winter wheat-summer fallow) is the key to sustainable production and soil conservation in this semi-arid environment.

Pages: 84 - 95
Volume: 61
Number: 2
Journal: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation (Ankeny)
Journal ISO: NA
Organization: NA
Publisher: NA
ISSN: 0022-4561

continuous cropping, crop residues, cropping systems, dryfarming, erosion control, evapotranspiration, fallow, fallow systems,maize, no-tillage, rotations, semiarid zones, soil conservation,sustainability, water holding capacity, wheat, wind erosion, winterwheat, Colorado, USA, Panicum miliaceum, Sorghum bicolor, Triticum,Triticum aestivum, Zea mays, Mountain States of USA, Western States ofUSA, USA, North America, America, Developed Countries, OECD Countries,Great Plains States of USA, Panicum, Poaceae, Cyperales, monocotyledons,angiosperms, Spermatophyta, plants, Sorghum, Triticum, Zea, Field Crops(FF005) (New March 2000), Plant Production (FF100), Plant CroppingSystems (FF150), Soil Physics (JJ300), Soil Management (JJ900), Erosion;Soil and Water Conservation (PP400), Plant Wastes (XX200)

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