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sd/pa
Frequent Contributor

Double cropping in Kansas

What double cropping rotations work for east vs west Kansas? Soybeans- wheat/soybeans-soybeans? Does double cropping work best with a wheat base out in west Kansas? Can milo fit well into a double crop system... Less double cropping now than 10 years ago?

 

Thanks!

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7 Replies
CitiFarmer
Veteran Contributor

Re: Double cropping in Kansas

Very little double cropping in western third of KS but soybeans behind wheat and sometimes sorghum behind wheat in other areas - dryland production.

 

Some double crop sunflowers and sorghum behind irrigated production and/or feed.

 

In general many producers have lowered the amount of summerfallow acres the past few years but that may change during 2014 due to the lower corn prices and drier conditions present in the western two thirds of KS.

 

Just my opinion based on observations and reports from producers.

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KSKid501
Veteran Contributor

Re: Double cropping in Kansas

We do beans/wheat as our only "true" double crop.  On our corn ground, we fly on radishes midseason for winter grazing.  The one big suggestion I would make is to stay away from doublecropping beans on beans, as there tends to be greater disease carryover.

 

Out in Ness County, the folks' land is just now being taken out of summer fallow on half the land at a time, to half wheat, half beans.  Wheat will do 60, but I'm highly doubting the beans will do more than 25-30.

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sd/pa
Frequent Contributor

Re: Double cropping in Kansas

Thanks! I guess low prices might lead to more fallow and less doublecropping...

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Shaggy98
Senior Advisor

Re: Double cropping in Kansas

Sd/pa you hit the nail on the head with that last comment. In Central Kansas, it takes near perfect conditions from about September until the following November (15 months total) to have a successful double crop IMO. If the primary crop stumbles along the way for one reason or another, it puts the secondary crop behind the 8 ball that much farther. We only get that opportunity once every several years, not knowing when that year lies is the problem. Until further notice, a cover crop will be the only second crop grown on my acres for the foreseeable future.
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sw363535
Honored Advisor

Re: Double cropping in Kansas

As noted on another thread, Kansas is a big place.

 

There are areas where rainfall variance dictates double cropping.

In the sw  we average 20" of rain -------- in wet years 30-35", with 6+ ft of good top soil water holding capacity, double cropping milo or sunflowers behind wheat is common on dry land.  Corn behind wheat on irrigation is also a practice historically.

 

In the dry years like the last 4, 8-14" of rain a fallow rotation takes over and double cropping disappears.

 

The western 1/3 of the state has very extreme weather swings.

 

We envy our down hill, eastern citizens who enjoy some climate consistancy at higher rainfalls  28-45", but most of them have thinner topsoil that will not carry them through the second crop or three dry weeks in August. 

 

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sd/pa
Frequent Contributor

Re: Double cropping in Kansas

Thanks. Glad to learn about the 6 ft topsoil in SW Ks.

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sw363535
Honored Advisor

Re: Double cropping in Kansas

Not a good explanation but   water holding capacity is a factor in the issue.  

And does explain why oddly there are many years when double croping is more prevelant in the western half of the state than in the east where it rains more.  Especially in the southern half.

The advent of no til, and the bigger yields from that rotation have also slowed the use of "opportunistic" double cropping in wet years.  The no-til rotation helps conserve the wetter year water for future years.

Improvements in herbicide usage have also slowed the dry land double crop practice.  On wet years we used to feel it was going to cost us as much to control weeds behind a wheat crop as it did to plant a second crop and the water loss was not much different.  So whatever the yield it was a free crop. 

This drought makes that seem like a distant memory.

 

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