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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Soil Organic Carbon Sequestration in Cotton Production Systems

Authors
item Causarano, H - AUBURN UNIVERSITY
item FRANZLUEBBERS, ALAN
item Reeves, Donald
item Shaw, J - AUBURN UNIVERSITY
item Norfleet, M - USDA-NRCS TEMPLE, TX

Submitted to: Southern Conservation Tillage for Sustainable Agriculture Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 27, 2005
Publication Date: June 27, 2005
Citation: Causarano, H.J., Franzluebbers, A.J., Reeves, D.W., Shaw, J.N., Norfleet, M.L. 2005. Soil organic carbon sequestration in cotton production systems. In: Proceedings of the 27th Southern Conservaton Tillage Conference. June 27-29, 2005, Florence, South Carolina. p. 192-200. CDROM.

Interpretive Summary: Conservation-oriented agricultural management systems have been suggested to sequester soil organic C (SOC), improve soil quality, and increase crop productivity. We calculated potential SOC sequestration under different management scenarios of five major land resource areas in the southeastern USA using the Soil Conditioning Index (SCI), a decision tool currently used by USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service to determine payments to farmers enrolling in the Conservation Security Program. All cotton cropping systems with conventional tillage would lead to loss of SOC. Growing cotton in monoculture with no tillage could lead to a small loss, no change, or a small increase in SOC, depending upon major land resource area, slope, and soil texture. The SCI predicted larger changes in SOC whenever no-tillage management was combined with cover cropping and cotton was rotated with high-residue-producing crops. Cotton producers in eligible watersheds of the Conservation Security Program could expect to receive an average of $3.36/acre, with payments up to $8/acre, depending on practices employed and soil conditions. Further research and extension activities are needed to capture the benefits of SOC for agricultural sustainability.

Technical Abstract: Conservation tillage, crop intensification, sod-based rotations, and judicious application of fertilizers and herbicides are agricultural practices that are not only agronomically sound, but could increase soil organic C (SOC) sequestration. We calculated potential SOC sequestration under different management scenarios of five major land resource areas in the southeastern USA using the Soil Conditioning Index (SCI), a decision tool currently used by USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service. All cotton cropping systems with conventional tillage would lead to loss of SOC. Growing cotton in monoculture with no tillage could lead to a small loss, no change, or a small increase in SOC, depending upon major land resource area, slope, and soil texture. The SCI predicted larger changes in SOC whenever no-tillage management was combined with cover cropping and cotton was rotated with high-residue-producing crops. Cotton producers in eligible watersheds of the Conservation Security Program could expect to receive an average of $3.36/acre, with payments up to $8/acre, depending on practices employed and soil conditions. Soil organic C is important to maintain high soil quality, to improve crop productivity, and to mitigate greenhouse gas emission.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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