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Soil Moisture: Managing a Limited Resource Wisely

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Soil Moisture: Managing a Limited Resource Wisely John Holman, PhD Cropping Systems Agronomist – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Soil Moisture: Managing a Limited Resource Wisely


1
Soil Moisture Managing a Limited Resource
Wisely
John Holman, PhD Cropping Systems Agronomist
2
How did we get here?
  • Fallow not originally part of the Great Plains
    cropping system
  • Fallow stabilized crop yields in wheat-fallow vs.
    continuous wheat
  • 30s, 50s, and Today

3
Winter Wheat
Nielsen et al.
4
What is Plant Available Water?
5
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6
PSE Precipitation Storage Efficiency
SWend SWbeg
PSE
Interval Precip
  • Soil water retained Precipitation stored during
    the fallow period

7
How do you measure Water Use?
Water Use Soil Water Change
Precipitation Irrigation - Runoff -
Deep Percolation
8
How do you measure Water Use?
Water Use Soil Water Change
Precipitation Irrigation - Runoff -
Deep Percolation
9
What Factors Affect PSE?
  • Residue am0unt and orientation, tillage
  • Air temperature, humidity, solar radiation, wind
    speed
  • Timing, amount, and form of precipitation
  • Soil texture, infiltration rate, existing
    moisture condition
  • Time between precipitation events

10
Effect of Tillage W-F 1993-1998 (Tribune, KS)
Schlegel et al.
11
Vigil et al. 2012
12
PSE During Fallow in W-F
Nielsen, et al.
13
Precipitation Storage Efficiency
14
Crop Choice Effect on Surface Residues and
Fallow Efficiency 1998-2008
Schlegel et al.
15
Wheat Residue Soil water storage Grain
Sorghum Yield
16
Time of Year Efficiency from Row-Crop Harvest to
Wheat Seeding (W-S-F)
Schlegel et al.
17
Concluding Thoughts
  • Make decisions that will improve precipitation
    use efficiency
  • Good fallow management
  • No-till, residue, and weed control
  • System Intensification
  • Can we intensity with cash or forage crops
  • Flex-cropping take advantage of opportunities
  • But efforts need to keep in mind do no harm
  • Hits on subsequent crops reduce surface residues,
    etc.

18
Where do we go from here?
  • We know when fallow is inefficient
  • W-F, no moisture storage during the second summer
    fallow period
  • W-S-F rotation works great when we have rain!
  • W-S-F, no moisture storage from July to wheat
    planting
  • Can we grow a short-season spring crop in fallow?
  • W-S-Flex fallow
  • Plant a spring crop when conditions are favorable
  • Can we strike a balance?

19
Western Kansas Flex-Fallow Results Garden City,
KS Average Precipitation (1908-2012) 18.22
in Average Precipitation (2008-2012) 15.75
in Average Precipitation (2010-2012) 13.33 in

20
Kansas Annual Precipitation, 1971-2000
Source K-State Weather Data Library --
www.oznet.ksu.edu/wdl
21
Flex-Fallow Treatments (Cover, Forage, Grain)
Season Crop Year Produced Year Produced Year Produced Year Produced Year Produced
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Winter Yellow sweet clover x x
"" Yellow sweet clover/Winter triticale x
"" Hairy vetch x x x x x
"" Hairy vetch/Winter triticale x x x x
"" Winter lentil x x x
"" Winter lentil/Winter triticale x x x
"" Winter pea x x x x x
"" Winter pea/Winter triticale x x x x
"" Winter triticale x x x x x
"" Winter pea (grain) x x x
Spring Spring lentil x x x x x
"" Spring lentil/Spring triticale x x x x
"" Spring pea x x x x x
"" Spring pea/Spring triticale x x x x
"" Spring triticale x x x x
"" Spring pea (grain) x x
Other Chem-fallow x x x x x
"" Continuous winter wheat x x x x x
22
Cover and Forage Crop Termination
Winter terminated May 15 (winter triticale
heads) Spring terminated June 1 (spring
triticale heads) Plots split ½ hayed ½ sprayed
out and left standing
Winter Peas
23
Plant Available Water at Wheat Planting Standing
Cover Crop vs Hay
  • Cover gt0.8 inches than hay (0-6 ft)

24
PAW at Wheat Planting-Fallow Method (2008-12)
25
2009-2012 Yield Results
2 good years, 2 very poor years Cover Crop vs Hay
Crop no effect
26
Economic Results
27
Economic Results Summary
Return Winter Winter Winter Winter Winter Winter Winter Winter Spring Spring Spring Spring Spring Spring None
Vetch Vetch/Trit Lentil Lentil/Trit Pea Pea/Trit Trit Wheat Lentil Lentil/Trit Pea Pea/Trit Trit Pea, grain Fallow
Cover crop -111 -122 -53 -100 -92 -126 -121 - -58 -88 -95 -103 -98 - -
Hay -124 9 -73 14 -97 7 28 - -68 -51 -55 -47 -29 - -
Grain only - - - - - - - -46 - - - - - -38 -48
Best alternative -76 56 -25 61 -50 55 75 2 -20 -3 -8 1 19 10
Fallow costs 48/A Returns include any reduction
of following wheat yield Winter and spring
triticale hay, grain peas, cont. wheat
28
New Study (W-S-F)
Spring oat versus triticale? Radish or turnip
planted with wheat ? Clover planted with
sorghum? Cocktail mixes?
Crop Hay Cover Grain
Fallow
Spring pea x
Spring pea/Spring oat x x
Spring pea/Spring triticale x x
Spring oat x x
Spring triticale x
Yellow sweet clover (planted with sorghum) x x
Daikon radish (planted with wheat) x
Shogoin turnip (planted with wheat) x
Cocktail mix x x
(oat, triticale, pea, buckwheat, forage brassica forage radish) (oat, triticale, pea, buckwheat, forage brassica forage radish) (oat, triticale, pea, buckwheat, forage brassica forage radish) (oat, triticale, pea, buckwheat, forage brassica forage radish)
29
PAW at Wheat Planting-Fallow Method (2012-13)
30
Results
  • Impact on wheat yield and profitability
  • Depends on wheat yield potential
  • Wet years little to no impact on yield (yield
    70 bu/A)
  • Dry years
  • 2011 dry year (WF yielded 23 bu/A)
  • Spring crops lt 3 bu winter crops lt 6 bu
  • 2012 second dry year (WF yielded 32 bu/A)
  • Spring crops lt 23 bu winter crops lt 24 bu
  • Average year?
  • IF you knew you were going to be in a drought W-F
    best
  • What is the best choice long-term?
  • How much weight do you put on a record drought
    year?

31
Results
  • Spring triticale forage
  • 4 years of no yield impact 1 year yield reduced
  • 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 no impact
  • 2012 -24 bu
  • On average wheat yield -2.5 to 5 bu/A (range 2
    to -24)
  • 1 ton forage _at_ 110/ton
  • Net 19 to 36/A more than chem-fallow long-term
  • Net 54/A more than chem-fallow without 2012
  • Break-even yield reduction of 7.5 bu/A _at_ 7.00/bu
  • Wheat-fallow yield potential of lt25 bu requires
    fallow

32
Conclusion
  • It is only sustainable if it is profitable
  • Graze it, bale it, or combine it!
  • No difference if grown as forage or cover
  • Good fallow management
  • No-till, residue, and weed control
  • High seed cost, offsets N contribution- grow own
    seed
  • More economical to apply N
  • Select fallow replacement crop adapted to region
  • Terminate cover crop prior to June 1 for winter
    wheat
  • Check with your insurance provider
  • If moisture is available then intensify rotation,
    otherwise fallow (flex-fallow)
  • Harvesting crop as forage or grain in place of
    fallow can increase profitability

33
Reducing Fallow and Tillage in Dryland Cropping
Systems
Alan Schlegel Southwest Research-Extension Center
Tribune, Kansas Troy Dumler Former Ag
Economist, Research-Extension Center Garden
City, Kansas
34
Objectives
  • Determine effect of long-term tillage practices
    (1991-2012) in a wheat-sorghum-fallow rotation
    on
  • - Soil water
  • - Grain yield

Alan Schlegel Southwest Research-Extension Center
Tribune, Kansas
35
WSF rotation
  • Conventional tillage
  • Reduced tillage
  • No-till

36

WSF, Tribune
37

WSF, Tribune
38
Weed control during fallow
Tillage Chemical
- - - - of operations - - - - - - - - of operations - - - -
CT 4-5 0
RT 2-3 2
NT 0 4
1991-2000
39
Weed control during fallow
Tillage Chemical
- - - - of operations - - - - - - - - of operations - - - -
CT 4-5 0
RT 4-5 (W) 4 (S)
NT 0 4
2001 thru current
40

WSF, Tribune, 1991-2010
41
WSF, Tribune
42
Tribune Wheat Yields in WSF Rotation
NT vs CT 22gt 1991-2000 61gt 2001-2010. NT vs
RT 9gt 1991-2000 32gt 2001-2010.
43

WSF, Tribune, 1991-2010
44
WSF, Tribune
45
Tribune Sorghum Yields in WSF Rotation
NT vs CT 71gt 1991-2000 256gt 2001-2010. NT
vs RT 10gt 1991-2000 119gt 2001-2010.
46
Summary (2001-2010)
  • Available soil water at planting 1.5 inches
    greater with RT/NT than CT.
  • Grain yield wheat NT 50 greater than CT
    30 greater than RT sorghum NT
    3X greater than CT
  • 2X greater than RT

47
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48
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49
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50
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51
Cost of Production
Tillage Wheat Sorghum
CT 82.09 98.76
RT 82.88 117.19
NT 98.72 120.46
Input costs do not include harvest costs which
vary with yield.
52
Sorghum Costs
53
Wheat Costs
54
Tribune Tillage Study
2010-2011 market year average price (5.50,
4.85) and costs.
55
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56
Questions?
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