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Can Cover or Forage Crops Replace Fallow in the Semiarid Central Great Plains?

Winter Wheat is the predominant crop grown in the Central Great Plains. It is commonly grown either in a 2-yr rotation of winter wheat–fallow (W-F) or 3-yr rotation of winter wheat–summer crop, grain sorghum, or sunflower –fallow (W-SC-F). Fallow has been a common practice in semiarid regions of the world to store soil water for subsequent crops and stabilize crop yields. This study assessed the effect of replacing fallow in no-till winter wheat–fallow with cover, forage, or grain crops on plant available water, wheat yield, grain quality, and profitability from 2007 to 2012. Plant available water at wheat planting was reduced the most when the fallow period was the shortest or when biomass production was the greatest.

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