Increasing Sustainability of Southern Great Plains' Agriculture Through No-till Production Systems

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2006: $183,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: Southern
State: Oklahoma
Principal Investigator:
Jeff Edwards
Oklahoma State University

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: canola, wheat
  • Animals: bovine


  • Animal Production: stocking rate, winter forage
  • Crop Production: crop rotation, no-till, application rate management, conservation tillage
  • Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer, focus group, networking, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, budgets/cost and returns, agricultural finance
  • Natural Resources/Environment: soil stabilization
  • Pest Management: biological control, cultural control, disease vectors, economic threshold, field monitoring/scouting, genetic resistance, integrated pest management, prevention, traps, weather monitoring
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management, integrated crop and livestock systems
  • Soil Management: soil analysis, nutrient mineralization, organic matter, soil physics, soil quality/health


    A three-year study in Oklahoma and Texas revealed that no-till wheat is a viable option for Southern Great Plains’ farmers and ranchers. Grain yield of no-till wheat plots were comparable to those of conventional-till plots, but fall forage yields were consistently lower in the no-till plots. Aphid numbers were lower in no-till wheat plots while Hessian fly numbers were higher than those in conventional till plots. Overall our research and extension efforts have resulted in increased acceptance of no-till production methods in integrated crop-livestock systems in the Southern Great Plains.

    Project objectives:

    Our long-tem objective is to increase the sustainability of farming and ranching operations in the southern Great Plains by increasing the adoption of no-tillage production practices and decreasing the reliance on commercial fertilizer sources. This project will move us closer to this long-term goal by addressing the following objectives:

    1. Determine the impact of switching from conventional to no-till production practices on fall forage production and yield components of winter wheat in grain-only and dual-purpose wheat production systems.

    2. Monitor the incidence and severity of wheat diseases as well as the presence and abundance of insect pests and their natural enemies in conventional and no-till, dual-purpose wheat production systems.

    3. Determine if sensor-based nitrogen recommendations developed for conventional tillage systems are valid in no-tillage, dual-purpose wheat production systems.

    4. Determine the economics of no-till versus conventional tillage for dual-purpose wheat under both conventional fall nitrogen application with rates based upon yield goals and field-specific spring nitrogen application with rates based upon yield potential as measured in late winter by optical reflectance technology.

    5. Educate southern Great Plains wheat producers on how no-tillage production practices can enhance both grain-only and wheat/stocker-cattle integrated production systems.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.