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754. Bennett, W., D. Pittman, D. Tingey, D. McAllister, H. Peterson, and I. Sampson. 1954. Fifty years of dry land research (at the Nephi Field Station).. Utah Agr. Expt. Sta. Bulletin 371.
Summarizes the results of 50 yr of research at the Nephi Field Station in cental Utah. Discusses climate - spring rainfall crucial, fall emergence of wheat correlated to high yields. Ave. annual precipitation is 12.65 in. Tillage experiments - fall verus spring plowing did not affect yields, while late spring plowing lowered yields. Plowing to 8" depth increased yields by 8% compared to plowing at 5". Yields were higher with plowing and no further cultivation on fallow (weeds controlled) than with normal fallow tillage. Yields were poor with stubble mulch. Fertility: A pea green manure increased wheat yields both in the short and long term. Wheat yields were sometimes depressed by green manure, due to moisture shortage or N immobilization. Manure application increased wheat yields in all treatments, and was more beneficial in wet years. N fertilizer increased wheat yields and protein. Burning straw increased yields for 30 yr, then they began to decline. No response to P. Wheat-fallow gave the greatest yields and net returns, and wheat was the only crop distinctly benefitted by summerfallow. Alfalfa depressed the following wheat yields but improved soil fertility. Continuous wheat yielded less than 40% of wheat-fallow. Wheatgrasses showed potential for forage and seed. Spring wheats yielded 60% of winter wheat. Only 32% of rainfall was stored as soil moisture in summerfallow. Overall, yields were low (15-25 bu/ac) and treatment differences were small (1-3 bu). These results predate the semidwarf wheat varieties.
1521. Davies, D.B.. 1977. Soil management. 3rd edition.. Farming Press Ltd., Suffolk..
Soil compaction increased chances of root disease (take-all, foot rot); problems of loss of soil structure; leads to reduced fertilizer use efficiency, especially N & P; winter cereals less sensitive to poor structure than spring cereals; 2-3 yr grass/alfalfa stand helps restore structure; benifits of subsoiling on silt soils; best time is when soil is dry.
3770. Krchnavy, Z. and M. Ambrozova. 1979. The function of the biological component of soil in the no-tillage monoculture wheat-growing system.. Rostlina Vyroba, 25(9):893-900.
Studied the interaction of organic manuring (cattle slurry, catch-crop for green manuring, and combination) and a five- to eight-year monoculture of winter wheat sown in uncultivated soil. Results indicate that for almost all microbial indices, particularly those concerning the conversion of carbonaceous substances, ammonification and phosphate activity, higher values can be observed in the soil left without ploughing than in the cultivated soil. Nitrification decreased. The combination of the catch crop and sowing in uncultivated soil encourages the general biological activity more intensively than in the case of ploughed soil.
5335. Poole, M.L.. 1987. Tillage practices for crop production in winter rainfall areas. p. 24-27.. IN: P.S. Cornish and J.E. Pratley (eds.) Tillage - New Directions in Australian Agriculture..
5622. Ramig, R.E., R.R. Allmaras and R.I. Papendick. 1983. Water conservation: Pacific Northwest. p. 105-124.. IN: H.E. Dregne and H.O. Willis (eds.). Dryland Agriculture. ASA Monograph 23..
Descriptions of tillage and summer fallow practices in 200-400 mm/yr precip. zones. Covers: fall, spring, summer tillages for summer fallow; weed control; time of planting. Also descriptions of conservation tillage practices in fallow such as stubble mulching, chemical fallow. Annual cropping is included and sections cover moldboard plowing, fall chiseling, cloddy seedbeds, no-till, slot mulching. T: precipitation and soil water storage for 3 tillages. Soil water evaporation rates.
5934. Rogers, R.D.. 1982. Undercutting as a wildlife conservation method.. Proc. Great Plains Ag. Council, p.25.
Using an undercutter without mulch treaders instead of surface tillage implements for fallow weed control in spring can save up to 50% of the bird nests in wheat stubble. Wheat stubble is often undisturbed following harvest and provides a good source of winter food and cover for wildlife. Nest survival increases directly with undercutter size and can potentially exceed 50% with large, wide-bladed undercutters. Both for wildlife and agronomic benefits, the use of an undercutter for the first spring fallow weed control operation is strongly recommended.
6583. USDA Soil Conservation Service. 1974. Soil conditioning rating indices for major irrigated and non-irrigated crops grown in the Western U.S.. Conservation Agronomy Technical Note No. 27.
This document presents a rating system to judge how various cropping systems affect soil condition over time. It assigns numerical values to various practices and totals them over a rotational sequence, with either a +, -, or neutral outcome. It is not a method for determining erosion. The concepts presented are helpful in assessing "soil quality" for cropping systems, both irrigated and dryland.
6929. Unger, P.W., C.W. Lindwall, D.W. Anderson, and C.A. Campbell. 1989. Mechanized farming systems for sustaining crop production and maintaining soil quality in semiarid regions.. unpublished manuscript, USDA-ARS, Conservation and Production Research Lab, Bushland, TX 79012.
This review paper presents research results primarily from the Northern Plains, Southern Plains, Pacific Northwest, and Australia, addressing issues of soil quality and organic matter, erosion, water storage and utilization, and how these are affected by tillage choices, crop rotations, and other management aspects. Cultivation of semiarid soils generally leads to soil organic matter (SOM) losses of 40-60%, with most loss in the first 20 years. The active fraction of SOM will change faster than the total SOM. The fraction of N that is readily mineralizable decreased more quickly than total N, indicating a reduction in the nutrient-supplying power of the soil over time. Cultivation decreases the proportion of soil aggregates >1 mm. Dry-stable aggregates >0.84 mm are needed to prevent wind erosion. In the Northern Plains, about 60% of the precipitation falls in the May to August growing season. The crop-fallow system here is relatively inefficient at water storage, storing only 20-25% of the precipitation during the fallow period. Crop stubble is crucial to snow trapping and moisture retention. Alternating strips about 5 m. wide of tall and short stubble increased snow depth and density and resulted in 30% more water storage compared to a uniform medium-height stubble. No-till improved yields in many cases by increasing stored moisture, but suitable herbicides are necessary for weed control. Flex cropping in Montana was the most efficient system for using moisture. In the Central Plains, increased evapotranspiration makes ample surface residue very effective. Yields for wheat in a fallow system were more than double those for continuous wheat, making the fallow system more economic. In the Pacific Northwest, major losses result from runoff and from evaporation, due to capillary action in undisturbed surface soils. Water storage efficiencies were 50-75% during the first winter, and 10-50% during the second winter at Pendleton, OR. Surface residues resulted in greater evaporative losses during the summer. To control erosion, innovations such as the slot mulch system, the paraplow, and basin pitters (dammer-diker) have been used. The paper has an excellent list of references on dryland cropping.
9284. Bracken, A.F. and G. Stewart. 1930. A quarter century of dry farm eExperiments at Nephi, Utah.. Utah Agr. Expt. Sta. Bulletin 222, Logan, UT..
Dry farming began in Boxelder County in 1863 and has now extended to all parts of the state where precipitation and topography permit favorable development. Alternate cropping with fall or early spring planting is the general practice. On page 41, there is a summary of results covering the following subjects: weather, data, treatment of land before plowing, plowing, treatment of summer fallow seeding experiments, cropping experiments, cereal varieties, fertility experiments, and rotations.
9402. Henderson, D.W.. 1979. Soil management in semiarid environments. p. 252-307.. IN: Agriculture in SemiArid Environments. Ecological Studies Volume No. 34, Springer-Verlag Publ.,.
To assess the impact of soil management in a meaningful way and in terms that can be applied in a variety of situations is nearly impossible with existing information. There are strong limitations to the impact of tillage and other soil management practices on crop production, especially under semiarid and arid conditions. Semiarid agriculture, limited as it is by water, economically cannot support intensive or costly practices. Relatively sparse growth frequently provides minimal levels of crop residue to be utilized in various ways. Economic tillage operations generally are relatively shallow, especially in developing areas with little mechanization, and therefore affect only a very small portion of the total root zone depth.