Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Evaluation of Conservation Management Practices for Cotton Production

Authors
item Hanks, James
item Martin, Steven - MS STATE UNI
item Fisher, Daniel
item Thomson, Steven

Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 5, 2005
Publication Date: June 1, 2006
Citation: Hanks, J.E., Martin, S.W., Fisher, D.K., Thomson, S.J. 2006. Evaluation of conservation management practices for cotton production. National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference, January 3-6, 2006, San Antonio, TX. CD-ROM.

Interpretive Summary: Investigations were conducted at Stoneville, MS to evaluate conservation management practices in cotton production. Significant interest has developed to find methods of increasing profitability in cotton production and minimize the environmental impact to the surrounding area. The objective of this study was to compare conservation tillage practices with conventional tillage typically used in cotton production. The study compared conventional tillage to plots with no-till, low-till sub-soiling as the only tillage, and the use of a winter wheat cover crop. The investigation was conducted for continuous cotton production and for cotton production in an alternate year rotation with corn. Supplemental water was provided uniformly to all plots by furrow irrigation, as needed. Aerial thermal imagery was collected to aid in comparing the different tillage practices. Cotton grown in the alternate year rotation with corn resulted in significant yield increases compared to the continuous cotton. Only slight yield differences resulted in the no-till, sub-soiling, and cover crop treatments compared to the conventional production in either the continuous cotton production or the cotton rotation with corn. These results indicate significant reduction in the tillage input can be achieved with minimal change in cotton yield. The change from conventional production to conservation tillage production practices would require varying degrees of equipment changes; therefore, the environmental and economic factors will need to be considered carefully on a case-by-case basis before making these changes.

Technical Abstract: Field studies were conducted at Stoneville, MS to investigate the effects of reducing inputs with conservation management practices in cotton production. Significant interest has developed to find ways of reducing production inputs without major reductions in yield that also minimize the environmental impact to the surrounding area. The objective of this study was to compare conservation tillage practices with conventional tillage typically used in cotton production. The study compared conventional tillage to plots with no-till, low-till sub-soiling as the only tillage, and the use of a winter wheat cover crop. The investigation was conducted for continuous cotton production and for cotton production in an alternate year rotation with corn. Furrow irrigation was used to supply supplemental water as needed. Aerial thermal imagery was collected to aid in comparing the different tillage practices. Significant yield increases were observed in cotton grown in the alternate year rotation with corn compared to the continuous cotton. The no-till, sub-soiling, and cover crop treatments resulted in only slight yield differences compared to the conventional production in either the continuous cotton production or the cotton rotation with corn. These results indicate significant reduction in the tillage input can be achieved with minimal change in cotton yield. The change from conventional production to conservation tillage production practices would require varying degrees of equipment changes; therefore, the environmental and economic factors will need to be considered carefully on a case-by-case basis before making these changes.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page