Standing winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) residue can capture snow, reduce soil erosion and water evaporation, and increase crop yields in semi-arid environments. Solid-stemmed winter wheat (SSWW) varieties may remain standing longer in the field; however, SSWW consistently yields less than conventional hollow-stemmed winter wheat (HSWW). This research investigates if the negative economic impact of yield loss of SSWW may be overcome by increasing the subsequent corn (Zea mays L.) yield due to increased snow capture and soil moisture. The experiment covered two cycles of a wheat–corn–fallow rotation in two separate fields between 2016 and 2019 near Sidney, NE. Five wheat varieties were tested (four varieties HSWW and one SSWW). Treatments (variety) were arranged in a randomized complete block design with four replications. ‘Warhorse’ (SSWW) and ‘Settler CL’ (HSWW) had the lowest grain yield (2,119 and 2,153 kg ha−1, respectively) in a drier year. Warhorse (SSWW) residue did not persist standing longer in the field compared with other HSWW varieties. No advantage of SSWW over HSWW was observed in enhancing soil moisture for years with average precipitation during the corn growing season, and consequently, corn yield did not increase. These results suggest that SSWW should be considered only if the risk of crop failure from wheat stem sawfly (Cephus cinctus) would reduce HSWW grain yields below those achieved when using SSWW.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agronomy and Crop Science