Maximizing winter wheat production with conservation tillage in the Northern Great Plains

Project assessing the potential for reduced tillage production of winter wheat in the Northern Great Plains


13 Jun 2001


    All experiments will be located in Central Montana on farmer fields. Specific field selection will be based on soil physical and chemical properties, climatic conditions, field history and farmer cooperation. A location with enough room for two plot areas will be selected. A portion of the plot area will be seeded in 1985 with the remaining land will be managed for seeding in 1986 i.e. fallowed and recropped to barley. Then the crop area seeded in 1985 (harvested in 1986) will be prepared for reseeding in 1987 i.e. respective plot areas fallowed and recropped in barley. A similar procedure will be done with the plot area to be seeded in 1986. Thus two years of data from identical sites can be collected. This is necessary because of the fallow period needed for the fallow treatment and to avoid rotation problems with continuous winter wheat in the no-till system. Conventional tillage management will consist of 4-5 mechanical tillage operations during summer fallow. Conservation tillage management will consist of no-till on spring barley stubble. Glyphosate will be used to control vegetation prior to seeding in the no-till area.

    Each site will be instrumented with a rain gauge, evaporation pan, and soil thermometer. Soil samples will be obtained each fall and analyzed for organic matter, pH, electrical conductivity, nitrate-nitrogen, and available phosphorous and potassium. Fertilizer recommendations will be based on these analyses. Soil moisture will also be determined from the soil samples in the fall and again in the spring. All seed used in the study will be certified and treated to help control several plant pathogens. Pest control for maximum yields will be practices on all plot areas.