Date of this Version
This NebGuide discusses the use of ecofarming to control weeds and manage crop residues.
Ecofarming is defined as a system of controlling weeds and managing crop residues throughout a crop rotation with minimum use of tillage so as to reduce soil erosion and production costs while increasing weed control, water infiltration, moisture conservation and crop yields. Energy requirements are much lower with ecofallow than with normal fallow systems. The ecofallow period in the 3-year rotation is the period between wheat or other small grain harvest and the planting of corn or sorghum. The fallow period in the 2-year rotation occurs between wheat harvest and the planting of winter wheat 14 months later.
Ecofallow means controlling weeds during the fallow period by using herbicides and/or tillage with minimum disturbance of crop residues and soils. We have been working on the ecofallow concept for 20 years, and it is presently being used in the winter wheat-fallow rotation and the winter wheat-corn or sorghum-fallow rotations. The winter wheat-fallow rotation is commonly used in western Nebraska. The 3-year rotation consists of winter wheat-ecofallow-sorghum or corn-fallow. The fallow period after corn or sorghum is followed by winter wheat. This rotation is generally used in the areas that receive 16 to 20 inches of precipitation. In eastern Nebraska, this could be an oats-ecofallow-corn, sorghum or soybean rotation.