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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 99 No. 4, p. 904-911
    Received: Apr 26, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): tanakad@mandan.ars.usda.gov
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Dynamic Cropping Systems for Sustainable Crop Production in the Northern Great Plains

  1. D. L. Tanaka *,
  2. J. M. Krupinsky,
  3. S. D. Merrill,
  4. M. A. Liebig and
  5. J. D. Hanson
  1. USDA-ARS, P.O. Box 459, Mandan, ND 58554


Producers need to know how to sequence crops to develop sustainable dynamic cropping systems that take advantage of inherent internal resources, such as crop synergism, nutrient cycling, and soil water, and capitalize on external resources, such as weather, markets, and government programs. The objective of our research was to determine influences of previous crop and crop residues (crop sequence) on relative seed and residue yield and precipitation-use efficiency (PUE) for the no-till production of buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench), canola (Brassica napus L.), chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.), corn (Zea mays L.), dry pea (Pisum sativum L.), grain sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L.), lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.), proso millet (Panicum miliaceum L.), sunflower (Helianthus annus L.), and spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) grown in the northern Great Plains. Relative seed yield in 2003 for eight of the 10 crops resulted in synergistic effects when the previous crop was dry pea or lentil, compared with each crop grown on its own residue. Buckwheat, corn, and sunflower residues were antagonistic to chickpea relative seed yield. In 2004, highest relative seed yield for eight of the 10 crops occurred when dry pea was the previous crop. Relative residue yield followed a pattern similar to relative seed yield. The PUE overall means fluctuated for seven of the 10 crops both years, but those of dry pea, sunflower, and spring wheat remained somewhat constant, suggesting these crops may have mechanisms for consistent PUE and were not as dependent on growing season precipitation distribution as the other seven crops. Sustainable cropping systems in the northern Great Plains will approach an optimal scheme of crop sequencing by taking advantage of synergisms and avoiding antagonisms that occur among crops and previous crop residues.

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