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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 78 No. 1, p. 99-106
    Received: Jan 23, 1984

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Effect of Standing Small Grain Stubble on Snow Cover Characteristics in Alternate Fallow Strip Cropping1

  1. Joseph M. Caprio,
  2. Gary K. Grunwald,
  3. Robert D. Snyder and
  4. Edward C. Cleary2



This study was directed to the evaluation of snow cover characteristics in standing small grain stubble and fallow fields in climatic areas of Montana distinguished by differences in long-term average annual number of chinook events. Field work was conducted over three winters (1976–1977, 1977–1978, and 1978–1979). The first winter was warmer and drier than normal, whereas the last two winters were wetter and colder than normal. Each winter, two transects consisting of four to six experimental sites each were established. The climate of one transect was distinguished from the other transect by the greater long-term average annual number of chinook occurrences. Treatments at each site included a fallow area and adjacent stubble area situated in alternating north-south strips approximately 50 m wide. Six to 10 observations of snow depth and water in snow were made each winter at all sites. Snow depth was greater in standing stubble fields than in fallow fields. Snow depth in standing stubble exceeded snow depth in fallow fields by 80% during the driest winter and 30% during the other two winters. The density of the snow was slightly greater in fallow fields than in standing stubble fields. The average density of snow cover was about 0.250 Mg m3 varying usually from 0.100 to 0.350 Mg m3. The average density of snow cover early in the season (early November) was about 0.140 Mg m−3, and increased about 0.008 Mg m−3 each week thereafter when the snow cover persisted. The snow cover across the standing stubble area was nearly uniform in depth. Significant differences between climatic areas in snow depth, water in snow, and snow density were found only during the comparatively dry first season.

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