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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Waterfowl Production on the Woodworth Station
in South-central North Dakota, 1965-1981

Tilled Croplands

Durum and hard red spring wheat were the main crops seeded on the area; others were barley, winter rye, oats, flax, corn, sunflowers, and speltz. Summer fallow (mostly bare soil) was part of the annual cropping program.

Before 1965, smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis) and alfalfa (Medicago sativa) were the main perennials seeded for forage crops. Since 1965, several mixtures of perennial grasses and legumes were seeded on cropland. Yellow sweetclover (Melilotus officinalis) was also included in these mixtures but was usually dominant only during the second growing season. Perennial mixtures included various combinations of alfalfa, intermediate wheatgrass (Agropyron intermedium), and tall wheatgrass (A. elongatum). Crested wheatgrass (A. cristatum) was accidentally included in one stand of cover. Another stand had slender wheatgrass (A. caninum) and green needlegrass. The predominant mixture seeded since 1968 has included 1 part yellow sweetclover, 1 part alfalfa, 4 parts intermediate wheatgrass, and 4 parts tall wheatgrass for a total of 11.2 kg/ha.

Upland habitats were delineated into continuous field units with designated area, length, and width. Primary upland habitats were classified as croplands, seeded grasslands, or native grasslands (Fig. 7). In this paper, croplands refers to fields that undergo annual tillage or cultivation including barren-soil summer fallow, small grain, oil seed, and row crops, and post-harvest stubble residue left either standing or mulched by discing or plowing. Seeded grasslands refers to fields planted to various mixtures of perennial grasses and legumes that did not require annual tillage. Native grasslands refers to fields of native prairie sod with no tillage history and also to a few small areas with a former cropland history which, through the years, had successionally changed back to native prairie. Generally, native grasslands were partially invaded to various degrees by Kentucky bluegrass, smooth bromegrass, and quackgrass and included scattered stands of native brush and shrubs, mainly wolfberry, silverberry, and chokecherry.

Fig 7. Photographic summary of main types of land-use treatments and habitats, Woodworth Study Area: A = summer fallow, B = mulched grain stubble, C = standing grain stubble, D = growing grain, E = native prairie, F = seeded grassland.

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