profitable forage rotations, forage rotation, high plains forage, annual forages


Annual forages are an important crop in the High Plains, yet the region lacks recom­mended annual forage rotations compared to those developed for grain crops. Forages are important for the region’s livestock and dairy industries and are becoming increasingly important as irrigation capacity and grain prices decrease. Forages require less water than grain crops and may allow for increased cropping system intensity and opportunistic cropping. A study was initiated in 2012 at the Southwest Research-Extension Center near Garden City, KS, comparing several 1-, 3-, and 4-year forage rotations with no-tillage and minimum-tillage. Data presented are from 2013 through 2017. Tillage generally increased winter triticale yields 1,250 lb/a compared to no-till yields, due in part to increased plant available water. Plant available water at planting winter triticale averaged 5.2 in./a in min-till and 3.4 in./a in no-till. Double-crop forage sorghum yielded 22% less than full-season forage sorghum and yields were not affected by tillage. Oat yields were lower than forage sorghum or winter triticale yields. Subsequent years will be used to further compare forage rotations, develop crop-water relationships, and establish partial enterprise budgets.


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