Ridge tillage for continuous grain sorghum production with limited irrigation

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Paul W.U
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Improved soil and water conservation are basic goals for crop production systems in the semi-arid southern Great Plains (SGP) of the USA and similar regions, and managing crop residues on the soil surface plays a key role in attaining these goals. Residue production by dryland grain sorghum (Sorghum bicolar (L) Moench) is often too low in semiarid regions to improve soil and water conservation, but much greater amounts are produced by irrigated sorghum. However, irrigation water maybe limited, as in the SGP, and a limited-irrigation approach is sometimes used for sorghum, which responds well to timely irrigations. This study, conducted on Pullman clay loam (fine, mixed, thermic Torrertic Paleustoll) from 1986 to 1992, determined effects of residue management treatments involving ridge tillage on continuous production of two grain sorghum hybrids with limited irrigation. Treatments were conventional (ConvT) tillage, which involved stalk shredding, disking, and rebuilding of the ridges soon after sorghum harvest, and two ridge tillage methods (residues shredded early (at harvest) - ConsTE; residues shredded late (at planting) - ConsTL). Soil water storage between crops was greatest with the ConsTL treatment and least with the ConvT treatment.
Agricultural Research, 31, p. 11-22