Dakota State University * Dickinson Research Extension Center
1133 State Avenue, Dickinson, ND 58601 Voice: (701) 483-2348 FAX: (701) 483-2005
REPORT OF AGRONOMIC INVESTIGATIONS - 1959
The growing season of 1959 was characterized by above ground average temperatures and lack of adequate moisture to produce high yields under the temperature conditions that prevailed. The summary of precipitation for the year shows a deficit of three inches for the growing season. Shortage of rainfall and high temperatures combined to reduce potential crop yields.
1. Daily Precipitation
Table 2. Climatic Data Summary
In southwestern North Dakota, the tillage method and cropping history of the land during the previous year have a most important effect on crop production. Crop yields in this area are dependent upon the moisture provided by seasonal rainfall plus the moisture which is stored in the soil at seeding time, and any farming practice that will aid in holding and storing moisture in the soil and which will make maximum use of that moisture for crop production is recommended practice for this area.
In recent years the recognition of the importance of the use of commercial fertilizer on some crops has resulted in the inclusion of several trials designed to study the effects of commercial fertilizer on crop production when used along with different crop rotations and tillage methods.
In these experiments tillage in preparation for seeding usually is begun within two or three days of the earliest work on farms in the community. The average seeding date is about the middle of April. Average harvest time is the first week in August.
Grain yields in these experiments are no better than yields harvested on the better farms in the area and for the most part reflect fairly well the approximate annual yields for this area.
In 1955, a series of two year corn-wheat rotations were planned to determine the effects of different methods of commercial fertilizer application in such a rotation on crop yield, and to determine the residual accumulation, if any, of commercial fertilizer applied to the land annually.
Initial soil tests made in 1955 indicated the need for a drill application of 75 pounds of ammonium phosphate (11-48-0) on the wheat and 100 pounds of ammonium phosphate (8-32-0) on the corn in these trials.
Yields from this years trial are presented in tables 3 and 4. Average yields for the five year period 1955-59 are summarized in tables 5 and 6.
Differences in wheat yields on fertilized and unfertilized cornland have varied from a low of 2 bushel per acre this year to 10.6 bushel per acre in 1955, which is the greatest difference in yield occurring in the five year period. Average difference between wheat yields on fertilized and unfertilized cornland is 3.5 bushels per acre in favor of fertilizer.
Tables 3 - 6
Table 3. Wheat yields - Corn-wheat rotation fertilizer series
Table 4. Silage yields - Corn-wheat rotation fertilizer series
Table 5. Wheat yields, corn-wheat rotation fertilizer series
Table 6. Silage yields,
corn-wheat rotation fertilizer series
This is one of the newer trials, set up on the old DLA rotation field, to compare long time results from commercial fertilizer application under three different cropping systems. Yields this year are the first ones recorded in this experiment.
Fertilizer application on non-fallow land is 25 pounds N and 36 pounds P2O5 per acre. On fallow land the rate of application is 8 pounds N and 36 pounds P2O5 per acre.
Yields from this years' trial are summarized in Table 7. It is interesting to note that application of fertilizer increased yields under all three cropping systems by approximately the same amount.Table 7. Wheat yields on continuous cropping, cornland and fallow, fertilized and unfertilized.
Rancher forage sorghum, Reliance grain sorghum, Piper sudan grass and Nodakhybrid 301 corn are compared as silage crops in this trial. In years when grain sorghum matures, seed yields of this crop and shelled corn yields will also be recorded.
Growing conditions were poor for all these crops this year, and only yields of silage were obtained.
Yields from this years' planting are summarized in Table 8.
Wheat-soybeans in a two year rotation.
Wheat following soybeans produced an average yield of 11.2 bushels per acre in 1959.
The soybean crop was a total
failure again this year, making the third consecutive year of failure for this
crop in the Dickinson trials.
This new trial is designed to compare 38 inch, 42 inch, and 42 inch wheel track planting of corn. This is the first year yields have been recorded from this experiment.
Corn silage yields were highest in the 38 inch row spacing and lowest in the wheel track planting this year, but actual differences are not very large.
Results for several years will be necessary to determine whether or not there is an advantage for any one method.
Table 9. Yields in the methods of planting corn trial.
|Covering the trench silo with plastic sheeting at the Dickinson Experiment Station livestock farm. Corn silage was a basic part of most of the rations for cattle and its use was promoted by the station. Trench silos were also both used and promoted by the station as the most economical and most efficient method of sotring silage in western ND.|
Yields on continuously cropped land compared with yields from alternate crop and fallow.
The continuous cropping series of plots set up in 1908, have been continued without interruption for fifty three years.
Yields from this years' trial and average yields for the fifty-three year period, 1908-1959 are summarized in Table 10.
This experiment has shown spring plowing to be a better tillage method for this area than fall plowing. When spring plowing is practiced the grain stubble is left standing during the winter months to catch and hold snow which helps provide moisture for germination and early growth of the crop in the spring. This is perhaps one of the biggest reasons for differences in production from these two tillage methods.
Local spots of gumbo or heavy clay soil and small areas of river bottom land that dry out slowly in the spring are the exceptions that may require fall plowing in western North Dakota.
At the present time continuous cropping of small grain is neither recommended or practiced to any extent in this area. Alternate cropping and fallow is a common practice over much of this region, but in the past few years this practice has been replaced by many farmers with a corn-grain rotation which is a more productive cropping sequence if the corn crop is utilized as silage.
An experiment comparing the moldboard plow and the double disk for the preparation of stubble land to be seeded to small grain was begun in 1924 and discontinued in 1957. Yields during this 34 year period clearly showed spring plowing to be the better tillage method. Yields from spring plowing averaged 3.5 bushels per acre more for the entire period and were higher than yields from disked stubble in 26 of the 34 years. There were three crop failures for both methods, yields were equal four years, and yields from disked stubble were slightly higher than from spring plowed stubble in only two years, 1931 and 1937. In both of these years yields were so low that for all practical purposes they could also be considered crop failures.
In 1955, another trial was begun to compare the yields on stubble land tilled in the spring with the one-way disk, the moldboard plow and the double disk. Yields from this trial are summarized in Tables 11 and 12. These results show that spring plowing with a moldboard plow is the best method of tilling stubble land to be seeded to small grain in western North Dakota. Double disking is the poorest tillage method with one-way disking being intermediate between double disking and spring plowing.
Corn and wheat in a two-year rotation compared with oats - peas and wheat
in a two-year rotation for the production of silage and cash grain.
This trial was begun in 1957 and a summary of yields for the three year period 1957-1959 are given in the following tables.
Table 13. Silage yields from the oats-peas and wheat vs corn and wheat rotations.
14. Wheat yields from the oats - peas and wheat vs corn and wheat rotations.
One of the points often overlooked in comparing oats - peas and corn as silage crops is the yield of the crop on this land the year following silage production. Results from this trial and past experience with other trials would indicate that the best second crop yields would be expected following corn. In this trial, wheat after corn has consistently outyielded wheat after oats - peas, the average difference for the three years being 4.7 bushels per acre.
The yields obtained in the annual cool season forage planting for 1959 are given in Table 15. Seed for this trial was supplied by Dr. J.F. Carter, and the trial was grown at several other branch stations and also at Fargo. At Dickinson the trial was grown on land summer fallowed in 1958, and also on wheat stubble land. Yields in Table 15 are from the stubble planting. The fallow planting was considered a failure and was not harvested, because of the lack of moisture growth of all crops had stopped and all plots on the stubble planting were cut on July 21. Vetch and peas were handicapped by the dry weather. Percentage of vetch and peas in the oats-vetch and oats-peas mixtures was very low. Excellent fall moisture resulted in an estimated 500 lbs. per acre regrowth on the vetch plots. No regrowth of any consequence was observed on the vetch - oats plots.
Crops in this region are dependent upon the moisture provided by seasonal rainfall plus the moisture which is stored in the soil at seeding time. Therefore, it is important that we use only those tillage practices that will conserve soil moisture. A fairly common practice in this area is fall tillage of stubble with the one-way disk. On localized spots of heavy clay or gumbo soils some fall tillage may be needed, but on the sandy and loamy soils, the predominant soils found in the southwestern North Dakota, fall tillage of stubble land may be unnecessary.
In 1957 determinations of soil moisture at seeding time at 6 inches to a depth of 2 feet on stubble land tilled in the fall with the one-way disk were compared with moisture on land where the stubble had been left standing undisturbed over the winter. In this comparison soil moisture was found to be significantly greater at all intervals under standing stubble in the following amounts: at 0-6 inches, 16.1%; 6-12 inches, 44.4%; 12-18 inches, 56.0%; and 18-24 inches, 12.8%. The soil was dry at seeding time below the 24 inch depth.
In the fall of 1957 tillage with a 5 foot sweep was added to the trial. It had been suggested that tillage with sweeps leaves the stubble comparatively undisturbed but leaves the soil loose to permit better penetration of fall, winter and spring moisture with less run off.
Dat from this trial for 1958 and 1959 summarized and analyzed shows no significant differences between these treatments at the 5% level of significance for soil moisture at 6 inch intervals to a depth of 36 inches or for yield of wheat for either year.
Stubble mulching is a year-round system of land management in which all mechanical operations are performed in ways which preserve much of the stubble and other vegetative material on or near the surface of the soil to protect the soil from wind and water erosion, to prevent soil compaction and crusting and to increase water intake and reduce run off.
Good summer fallowing includes adequate protection of the soil against erosion during the fallow period, and also includes protection of the seedbed after the crop has been seeded. Properly managed stubble mulching accomplishes both objectives.
Specifications for the minimum amount of small grain residue required to control erosion have been established by the Soil Conservation Service. These specifications are given in table 16. Primary emphasis on stubble mulch fallowing in western North Dakota in many, if not in most years, will be toward the conservation of the maximum amount of trash present on the land because on years of moderate to low yields the amount of trash available after harvest may be barely adequate to provide the minimum amount of residue required to control erosion. However, some consideration should also be given to years when high yields provide a heavy and excessive amount of trash. In such cases consideration should be given in the fallowing operation to the reduction of surface trash, not to a point below the minimum amount required to control erosion, but to a point which can be satisfactorily handled by the seeding implements and methods used.Table 16. Minimum amount of small grain residue required to control erosion
Table 17 shows the percentage of residue conserved after each operation on stubble mulch fallow with several different tillage implements.
A stubble mulch fallow trial was begun in1958 to study and compare the amount of straw and trashy residue that can be saved at or near the surface of the soil by various summer fallow tillage methods, and its effect on crop yield, soil tilth and erosion control.
A plot layout on Field N, Section 4-139-96 was selected for this work and half of the selected layout was uniformly cropped to wheat and half was uniformly fallowed in 1957. First tillage of fallow in 1957 was with the moldboard plow, and all subsequent tillage on the fallow plots that year was with the duckfoot cultivator equipped with 10" sweeps. The wheat crop of 1957 left an average of 2680 pounds of stubble and straw on the land. Fallowing operations begun on this land in 1958 compared five different tillage implements. They were: the moldboard plow, the one-way disk, duckfoot cultivator equipped with 10 inch shovels, cultivator equipped with 24 inch shovels and a wide sweep equipped with a 5 foot straight blade. Three separate tillage operations were necessary to control weeds in 1958. Average amounts of residue on these plots at seeding time in the spring of 1959 were: for the 5 foot blade, 1800 lbs.; for the 24 inch sweep, 1100 lbs.; for the 10 inch sweeps, 900 lbs.; for the one-way disk, 350 lbs.; and for the moldboard plow, 200 lbs. Yields recorded in 1959 on these plots are given in Table 18.
In 1958 the plots uniformly fallowed in 1957 were seeded to wheat and produced an average yield of 34.6 bushels per acre, leaving and average of 3400 pounds of stubble and straw on the land. In the 1959 trial an implement known as the Victory blade, equipped with 4 foot V-type sweeps was used instead of the 5 foot straight blade and the 24 inch sweep was not used. Average amounts of residue remaining on these plots in the fall of 1959 were: for the wide sweep, 2500 lbs; for the 10 inch shovel, 800 lbs.; for the one-way disk 700 lbs.; and for the moldboard plow 250 lbs. Table 19 summarizes the data on cloddiness, residue, roughness and the natural wind erodibiblity index as calculated by SCS methods.Table 19. Summary of relative effectiveness of various tillage treatments for controlling wind erosion on sandy loam soil
Photo: Stubble mulch fallow plot showing 2700 pounds of residue per acre after two operations with the Noble blade. The 1958 wheat crop yield was 34.0 bushels per acre. There wad 3400 pounds of residue on the land before tillage.
Photo by Don Broberg, SCS
Spray applications of endothal, sinox and isopropyl-n-phenyl carbamate were made in the fall of 1958 on observation plots infested with a heavy stand of wild oats. These plots showed no appreciable reduction in wild oat stand from the application of either the endothal or the sinox spray. There was, however, a marked reduction in the stand of wild oats on the plot sprayed with IPC. Additional work with IPC is planned for 1960.
Spray applications of 1/4 lb., ½ lb., 1 lb. and 2 lbs. per acre of S847 were made in the spring of 1959 on observation plots infested with a heavy stand of wild oats. Seedings of wheat, oats and barley were made across these plots earlier in the spring to permit observation of the effect of the chemical on these crops at the different rates of application. The effects of the extremely droughty season made observation of minor differences difficult but fair control of wild oats was effected with the 1 and 2 lb. rates. No crop was considered worth harvesting in this trial. Work will probably be continued with this chemical in 1960 if it is not discontinued for reasons not known at the present time.
Work with M-757 was discontinued because the developing company has discontinued it as a potential wild oats control chemical.
The corn maturity rating trial and the roughage production trial with corn were conducted at the Dickinson station this year in addition to the corn included in the rotation, tillage and fertilizer trials which has already been reported.
Because of the poor condition for growth of corn which prevailed in 1959 no differences were apparent in the corn maturity rating trial. All entries stopped growing and began to dry up the third week in August. The trial was not harvested.
Data from the Roughage production trial is summarized in Table 20. Silage production, green weight calculated at 70% moisture ranged from 1.89 tons to 3.03 tons per acre in this trial with the average yield for the entire trial being 2.46 tons per acre.
Experiments with barley in 1959 included field plot trials with 15 varieties and the Great Plains nursery planting of 17 entries.
Yields from the field plot trials are summarized in Tables 21 and 22. Exceptionally good yields were obtained in this years' field plot trials. Highest average yield was produced by Titan, 35.9 bushels per acre with Tregal, Liberty, Traill, Betzes and Hannchen all yielding over 30.0 bushels per acre.
Yields here were considerably lower than those in the field plots. Piroline, Korol and a Vantage-Compana cross, No. 5401-42, were high yielders at 19.0 plus bushels per acre. Yields from the Great Plains Nursery planting are summarized in Table 23.
Experiments with flax at the Dickinson station in 1959 included a varietal field plot trial of 10 varieties and the Uniform Regional Flax nursery planting. In addition, flax was included in the field plot trial with safflower for purposes of comparison.
Lack of adequate moisture and excessively hot weather damaged the field plots so severely that they were considered a total failure and were not harvested.
Yields in the nursery trial with flax ranged from 3.9 bushels to 6.1 bushels per acre. Data from the Uniform nursery planting are summarized in Table 24.
Experiments with oats in 1959 included a field plot trial of 13 varieties and the North Central Uniform Oat Nursery planting of 29 varieties and selections.
Highest yielders in this years field plot trial were Vicar hulless, Rodney, Sauk Garry selection, Gopher and Mo-o-205, all producing above 35.0 bushels per acre. Compared with barley, oats was the poorer crop by a wide margin this year. The highest yielding barley variety, Titan, yielded 1759 pounds of grain per acre compared with 1274 pounds of oats per acre from the highest yielding oats variety. Yields from the 1959 oats field plot trial are summarized in Table 25.
Test weights were light and yields were low throughout in this years North Central Uniform Oat Nursery planting. Data for the trial are summarized in Tables 26 and 27.
In 1959 four varieties of winter rye grown in field plots yielded well despite poor growing conditions. All four varieties, Antelope, Caribou, Pierre, and Dakold were equal in yield performance this year.
Data on this years Rye variety trial are summarized in Table 28. Yield comparisons for the period 1954-1959 are given in Table 29.
Two safflower experiments were grown at Dickinson in 1959. One, a field plot comparison of the safflower varieties Pacific No 1 and Nebraska 10, and B5128 flax is summarized in Table 30. No difference in yield was recorded for the safflower varieties. Flax was slightly higher yielding that the safflower in this trial. The other safflower trial, a Regional nursery planting of nine varieties and selections, produced only fair yields. Highest safflower yield in this trial was 299 lbs. per acre which is appreciably lower than the 342 lbs. per acre produced by the high yielding flax varieties grown in the adjacent Regional Flax nursery. Data from the Regional Safflower nursery planting for 1959 are summarized in Table 31.
Experiments with spring wheat in 1959 included field plot trials with 19 hard spring wheat and durum varieties, the Uniform Regional Spring wheat Nursery, the Uniform Bunt nursery, the Advanced Station Nursery and early generation nurseries of numerous Dickinson selections.
Yields from the 1959 field plot trial with wheat are given in Table 33. Production was good despite unfavorable growing conditions, but test weights were on the low side. No significant difference was found between Conley and Selkirk, the two low yielding hard spring wheats, but Lee produced a significantly higher yield than either Conley or Selkirk. Comparative yields in the hard spring wheat trial for the period 1954-1959 are summarized in Table 34.
In the durum trial Ld389 was high yielder with 17.7 bushels per acre this year. Ld392 produced a very satisfactory yield of 15.5 bushels per acre. Both of these selections have done well in the two years they have been included in Dickinson trials. Table 35 and Table 36 summarize the data from the durum wheat trials.
Both yields and test weights were low in the Regional nursery planting this year. High yields were produced by II-44-29 x Lee cross and by several selections from II-44-29 x Lee3. Data from the Uniform Regional nursery planting at Dickinson are given in Table 37.
Data from the 1959 Uniform Bunt Nursery are summarized in Table 38, Table 39, and Table 40.
Yields in the Advanced Station Wheat Nursery planting at Dickinson averaged higher than yields in the Uniform Regional planting for the most part, and all entries in the Advanced trial were equal to or better than Lee, Selkirk and Conley, the standard check varieties used. A summary of Fargo and Casselton yields in Table 41 also shows very acceptable yielding capacity for many of these selections. Milling and baking trials for 1959 on Fargo samples were very disappointing, showing practically no promise for any of these high yielding selections. Milling and baking data are given in Table 42.
These plots were seeded in 1953 and most of the stands are still in excellent condition, although a few of the stands show some deterioration, particularly the plots of Canadian commercial.
The average production of all brome varieties this year was 823 lbs. per acre, which is about 57 percent of the average production of the older intermediate wheatgrass plots (Table 2). Bin 12, a southern type brome, was top producer this year with a yield of 1007 lbs. per acre. Elsberry at 952 lbs. per acre, Martin at 951 lbs., and Lincoln at 906 lbs. were next in order. In general the southern bromes continued to show somewhat greater productivity than the northern types. However differences between the two types of strains were not as pronounced this year as they have been in some of the past years. The entire range in yield was only from 704 lbs. for Kuhl to 1007 lbs. per acre for Bin 12.
On the basis of the 5-year average yields Lincoln has a slight advantage in overall productivity, followed closely by Fischer. The rest of the southern type strains show an average yield between 1174 lbs. per acre and 1282 lbs. per acre. The northern type strains show lower average yields, ranging from Mandan 404 at 1156 lbs. Homesteader at 1148, and Manchar at 1145, to Canadian commercial at1040 lbs. per acre. With the exception of Canadian commercial there is practically no difference in yield between the northern type strains.
New Intermediate Wheatgrass Plots. A new intermediate wheatgrass trial seeded in 1958 was harvested for hay for the first time in the 1959 season. This new trial includes 9 varieties of intermediate wheatgrass. Hay yields of the varieties are given in Table 4. The range in yields in the 1959 season was from 1282 lbs. of dry material per acre for South Dakota 20 to 860 lbs. per acre for A-12496.
The average yield of all varieties was 1143 lbs. per acre, which compares with1439 lbs. per acre average yield from the plots seeded in 1954 (Table 1). Apparently these newly seeded stands have not yet reached their maximum production potential.
Good stands were obtained in these seedings for the most part. However, the plots of A-12496 were considered to be poor and thin as compared to the others. Apparently the seed of this variety was low in viability. The relatively low yield of this variety is a reflection of the poor stands obtained.
New Crested Wheatgrass Plots. Yields of hay (oven-dry weight) from the plots in the new crested wheatgrass trial are given in Table 5. This trial was seeded in 1958, and the first hay yields taken in the 1959 season. Good to excellent stands were obtained with all the crested wheatgrass varieties except Turkish Fairway and A-1770 Fairway. On some of the plots of Turkish stands were only fair, and all stands of the A-1770 were failures. It would appear that these poor stands and failures were due to poor quality seed.
Approximately 375 selections from hard spring wheat crosses made at the Dickinson Station were grown out in F-1 to F-6 generation nurseries in 1959. Most of the selections in the F-5 and F-6 nurseries have shown promise agronomically and are being advanced to yield tests as rapidly as possible. Selection in the lower generation nurseries is continuing.
Annual Branch Station Conference - NDAC - January 5-9
Regional Spring Wheat Conference - NDAC - January 22-24
Eighty seven letters concerning Station work have been written since January 1, 1959.
June 8, 1959 - Crops Field Day scheduled for June 24 at Dickinson Experiment Station.
PROGRAMS TV PROGRAMS WITH STARK COUNT AGENT
Use of commercial fertilizer in a two year corn-wheat rotation: Differences in wheat yields on fertilized and unfertilized cornland have varied from a low of 2 bushels per acre in 1959 to a high of 10.6 bushels per acre in 1955. Average difference in wheat yield for the 5 year period 1955-59 is 3.5 bushels per acre in favor of fertilizer.
Wheat-soybeans in a two year rotation: Wheat following soybeans produced an average yield of 11.2 bushels per acre in 1959. The soybean crop was a total failure again this year, making the third consecutive year of failure for this crop in the Dickinson trials.
Continuous cropping vs. alternate crop-fallow: At the present time continuous cropping of small grain is neither recommended or practiced to any extent in this area. Alternate cropping and summer fallow is a common practice over much of the region, but in the past few years this practice has been replaced by many farmers with a corn-grain rotation which is a more productive cropping sequence if the corn crop is utilized as silage.
Comparison of yields on stubble land tilled in the spring with the moldboard plow, the one-way disk and the double disk: Results from this trial show that spring plowing with the moldboard plow is the best method of tilling stubble land to be seeded to small grain in western North Dakota. Double disking is the poorest tillage method with one-way disking being intermediate between double disking and spring plowing.
Experiments with corn: Silage production, green weight at 70% moisture ranged from 1.9 to 3.0 tons per acre this year. Average yield of corn for silage this year was 2.5 tons per acre, an excellent yield considering growing conditions.
Experiments with Barley: Exceptionally good yields were obtained in this years' trials. Highest average yield was produced by Titan; 35.9 bushels per acre.
Experiments with flax: Lack of adequate moisture and excessively hot weather damaged the field plots so severely that they were considered a total failure and were not harvested.
Experiments with oats: Oat yields were poor by comparison with other small grains this year. Highest yielding oat varieties in this years trial were Vicar hulless, Rodney, Sauk, Garry selection, Gopher and Mo 0-205, all producing above 35.0 bushels per acre.
Experiments with rye: In 1959 four varieties of winter rye grown in field plots yielded well despite poor growing conditions. All four varieties, Antelope, Caribou, Pierre and Dakold were equal in yield this year.
Experiments with Safflower: Highest safflower yield recorded was 300 pounds per acre. Flax grown under comparable conditions produced 342 pounds of seed per acre.
Experiments with Winter wheat: The 1959 winter wheat planting was a total failure, due in large measure to lack of adequate moisture for germination and early growth in the fall of 1958.
Experiments with Spring wheat: Production in all spring wheat trials was good despite unfavorable growing conditions. Highest yielding HRS variety was Marquis at 16.2 bushels per acre. Wells and Lakota, two new North Dakota durums were high in yields in the durum trial producing 17.7 and 15.5 bushels per acre.
Trials not abstracted are new trials which have not been conducted for a long enough period to allow for conclusions.
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