No-till systems and crop residue management have changed cropping systems in the Great Plains. Previously, winter wheat-fallow was the prevalent rotation; now producers grow warm-season crops along with winter wheat and fallow. With this diversity of crops, producers have developed an ecological approach to weed management where cultural tactics disrupt weed population growth. Producers using this approach are managing weeds with 50% less cost compared with the winter wheat-fallow rotation. Two key components of the multitactic approach are devising rotations comprised of two cool-season crops followed by two warm-season crops with the use of no-till practices. Fallow, if used, serves in either seasonal category. The cycle-of-four rotation also minimizes severity of plant diseases, thereby increasing crop yield potential. Net returns are increased with crop diversity and no-till compared with winter wheat-fallow and tillage. Reduced cost of weed management is a major factor of improved net returns, as well as increased land productivity.
Nomenclature: Winter wheat, Triticum aestivum L.