Usually, either wheat-fallow-wheat or wheat-fallow-sorghum-fallow-wheat (two crops in three years) systems are used in dry land production in the Oklahoma panhandle while continuous cropping systems are used in central Oklahoma. Gage, where the project is situated, is located midway between these two areas. Consequently, the producer wanted to evaluate the economic impact of no-till versus conventional till agriculture in his area.
The project consisted of two experimental areas–one was no-till and the other conventional till–within which eight wheat/crop rotation systems (treatments) were replicated four times in each area. Each treatment was planted in plots that were 30 feet wide by 60 feet long. The eight treatments were:
System Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
1 Wheat Wheat Wheat
2 Fallow Wheat Fallow
3 Wheat Fallow Wheat
4 Austrian peas Wheat Aust. peas
5 Wheat Aust. peas Wheat
6 Fallow Sorghum Wheat
7 Wheat Fallow Sorghum
8 Sorghum Wheat Fallow
Because it was very dry during the project, the winter peas did not get planted early enough to do anything. However, the grower noticed that the no-till plots tended to take in water better than the conventional ones. Although the trials did not show any significant differences in any of the treatments, the producer believes that more years are needed to demonstrate the positive impact that organic matter and better soil management have on crops and weed problems.