Main content area

Tillage and grazing impact on annual crop yields following conversion from perennial grass to annual crops

Hendrickson, John R., Tanaka, Donald L., Liebig, Mark A.
Crop management 2014 v.13 no.1 pp. 1-7
Glycine max, Linum usitatissimum, Thinopyrum intermedium subsp. intermedium, Triticum aestivum, Zea mays, cattle, corn, crop rotation, crops, flax, grain yield, grass weeds, grasses, grazing, land use change, minimum tillage, no-tillage, perennials, plant density, soybeans, spring wheat, Great Plains region, North Dakota
Interest in methods to transition from perennial grasses to annual crops should continue to increase because of expiration of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts in the USA and a desire by some to include a perennial phase in annual crop rotations. A four-year study was initiated in 2005 at the Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory USDA-ARS in Mandan, North Dakota, USA to evaluate different tillage options for transitioning from perennial grass to annual crops. The study site was previously used to evaluate the persistence of intermediate wheatgrass [(Thynopyrum intermedium (Host) Barkworth & D.R. Dewey] when grazed at the early vegetative (EARLY), mid-culm elongation (MID), or late boot (LATE) morphological stages. We seeded soybean (2005), corn (2006), flax (2007) and spring wheat (2008) into the plots using either no-till (NT) or minimum-till (MT). Tillage type interacted with previous grazing history to impact soybean grain yields (2005), total weed density in flax (2007) and grassy weed density in spring wheat (2008). The use of NT generally resulted in greater yields and lower weed densities then MT. Surprisingly, timing of grazing still had an impact, especially on weed densities; four years after the cattle were removed.