Previous and Current Crop Effects on Early-Season Root Growth and Growing Season’s Soil Moisture Under Dryland Agriculture in Temperate Climate

  •  Kabal S. Gill    
  •  Surinder K. Jalota    


Understanding the root growth and changes in soil moisture content during the growing season for dryland agriculture crops can improve crop production. It was hypothesized that early-season root growth might be influenced by previous crop and current crops, and soil moisture content and depletion pattern during the growing season and residual soil moisture may be affected by the crop type. A study was conducted on the early-season root growth of canola (Brassica napus L.), wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), and flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) in 2015; and changes in soil water content during the 2013, 2014, and 2015 growing seasons under canola, flax, wheat, barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), and pea (Pisum sativum L.). Early-season root growth of the canola and flax crops was better on wheat than canola stubble, while for wheat it was similar on the stubbles of both wheat and canola. Soil moisture depletion started relatively earlier under the barley and wheat and later under the flax compared to the canola and pea crops. Flax continued to deplete soil moisture for a longer period than the other crops. With some exceptions, all crops could deplete soil moisture to a similar level (down to about 15% or somewhat lower) by the end of their growing seasons. Generally, almost equal amounts of residual soil moisture remained after the different crops.

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