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Dryland wheat production potential in the northern Great Plains (NGP) often is limited by N availability impacted by various management practices. A 4‐yr study was conducted in northeast Montana to relate spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) productivity and N utilization to management system (conventional and ecological), tillage (till and no‐till), and four crop rotations (continuous spring wheat, spring wheat‐pea [Pisum sativum L.], spring wheat‐hay barley [Hordeum vulgare L.]‐pea, and spring wheat‐hay barley‐corn [Zea mays L.]‐pea. Ecological management included greater seed rates, delayed planting dates, banded N fertilizer, and increased stubble height compared to conventional management with standard seed rates and planting dates, short stubble height, and broadcast N fertilizer. Continuous spring wheat showed the lowest grain yield, with the least efficient utilization of N compared to 2, 3, and 4‐yr rotations. Mineral nitrogen‐use efficiency (NUE) was 37% lower for continuous wheat than other rotations. Increasing complexity of crop rotation had little impact on wheat production or N relationships. The delayed planting date associated with ecological management of spring wheat contributed to 33% less efficient use of N compared to an early planting date with conventional management. Overall, results indicated that crop rotation and management system often impacted N relationships with wheat production, while tillage impacts differed with year. Differences in yield and N use of spring wheat varied among years, underscoring the need to refine management systems given the highly variable precipitation patterns typical of the NGP.
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Allen, Brett; Lenssen, Andrew W.; Sainju, Upendra M.; Jabro, Jalal D.; and Stevens, William, "Nitrogen use in spring wheat impacted by crop diversification, management, and tillage" (2021). Agronomy Publications. 708.