We investigated the long-​term impact of three tillage intensities (conventional, reduced and no-​till) on dryland grain sorghum and winter wheat yield, available soil water, and water productivity. The study was conducted at Kansas State University Southwest Research-​Extension Center. A wheat-​grain sorghum-​fallow rotation was managed with no-​till, conventional, and reduced tillage from 1991 to 2015.

We found on average a 120% yield advantage of no-​till grain sorghum over conventional tillage, and a 55% yield advantage of reduced-​till grain sorghum over conventional tillage. No-​till winter wheat had a yield advantage of 31% over conventional tillage, and reduced till winter wheat had a yield advantage of 12% over conventional tillage. Furthermore conventional tillage rotations had less available soil water at planting compared to no-​till and reduced tillage. For years 2001-​2015, the reduced tillage treatment was a combination of conventional till wheat in rotation with no-​till grain sorghum.

This system produced grain sorghum yields 45% less than the continuous no-​till system. To obtain maximum benefit from no-​till for grain sorghum, it must be done continuously and not in rotation with tillage.

Publication: Schlegel, A.J., Y. Assefa, L.A. Haag, C.R. Thompson, and L.R. Stone. (2018). Long-​term tillage on yield and water use of grain sorghum and winter wheat. Agron. J.

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