Ridge Height and Furrow Blocking Effects on Water Use and Grain Yield
- Paul W. Unger
Because water supplies are limited for crops in the Great Plains, use of water-conserving practices is important. This study determined the influence of ridge height and furrow blocking on water conservation and use, and yields of irrigated winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and dryland grain sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] grown in rotation. The rotation results in two crops in 3 yr with a 330-d fallow between each crop. The study was conducted from 1981 to 1990 at Bushland, TX, on Pullman clay loam (fine, mixed, thermic Torrertic Paleustoll). Ridge heights were 12 to 15 or 5 to 8 cm and furrows were blocked or open. The ridge-height and furrow-blocking treatments were imposed every 3 yr before planting wheat. No-tillage was used during fallow after wheat and reduced tillage was used to reform the ridges during fallow after sorghum. Water infiltration was little affected by treatments. Differences in soil water content at planting and harvest were significant in some cases, but trends were inconsistent. Total water use was not affected by ridge height, but was greater with open than with blocked furrows for wheat. Although significant in some years, mean wheat and sorghum yield differences were small. On gentle (<0.5%) slopes, furrow blocking in combination with notillage and reduced tillage did not increase soil water storage or crop yields over those obtained with no-tillage alone. There was no indication that long-term no-tillage and reduced-tillage practices adversely affect wheat and grain sorghum production.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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