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Cover-Crop Water Use and Productivity in the High Plains Wheat-Fallow Crop Rotation

A long fallow period in a winter wheat–fallow rotation (W-F) cropping system is meant to store soil water for the following crop, but loss of soil quality, low precipitation use-efficiency, and increased cost of fallow management are among its drawbacks. Replacing a portion of the fallow period with a short-season cover crop may alleviate these drawbacks. The objectives of this study were to evaluate available soil water at planting, performance, management, and post-cover-crop fallow efficiency, and available soil water at winter wheat planting of 12 short-season cover crops.

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