dryland cropping, large-scale cropping, semi-arid regions


The change from conventional tillage to no-till cropping systems has allowed for greater intensification of cropping in semi-arid regions. In the central High Plains, wheat-fallow (1 crop in 2 years) has been a popular cropping system for many decades. This system is being replaced by more intensive wheat-summer crop-fallow rotations (2 crops in 3 years). There has also been increased interest in further intensifying the cropping systems by growing 3 crops in 4 years or continuous cropping. The objective of the study was to identify whether more intensive cropping systems can enhance and stabilize production in rainfed cropping systems to optimize economic crop production, more efficiently capture and utilize scarce precipitation, and maintain or enhance soil resources and environmental quality. This project evaluates several multi-crop rotations that are feasible for the region, along with alternative systems that are more intensive than 2- or 3-year rotations. The objectives are to (1) enhance and stabilize production of rainfed cropping systems through the use of multiple crops and rotations using best management practices to optimize capture and utilization of precipitation for economic crop production, and (2) enhance adoption of alternative rainfed cropping systems that provide optimal profitability.


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