Chain Diking Effects on Runoff and Winter Wheat Production
- Harold T. Wiedemann and
- Lewis E. Clark
The major factor limiting crop production in the Texas Rolling Plains is water,and better methods of conserving soil water in dryland wheat production are needed. Chain diking is a novel method of forming basins on flat-tilled land to impound and conserve water received from precipitation. The objective of this research was to determine the influence of chain diking on dryland winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) yield and on runoff during the growing season. The study site, in northwest Texas, has an annual mean rainfall of 632 mm and a cropping season average of 444 mm. Following September drill-seeding of wheat, plots were chain diked or not diked. All other cultural practices were the same for all plots. Exit flumes and automatic recording devices were installed to measure runoff from each plot during the growing season. Grain was harvested in June. Diking reduced runoff an average of 40% (P = 0.02), which amounted 1.0 ha-cm over three crop years, compared with tillage without diking. The increase in wheat grain yield from dikingw as not significant over four crop years (P = 0.75). When analyzed by year, diking increased yields 11%(277 kg ha−1; P = 0.02) in 1989, when cropping-season rainfall was 22% below average.The probability of receiving rainfall below average by more than 20% during the cropping year is 30%, based on 88-yr records at this test site. Diking following planting apparently will be valuable less than 30% of the time, although other applications for chain diking are possible.
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