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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: CONSERVATION SYSTEMS RESEARCH FOR IMPROVING ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY AND PRODUCER PROFITABILITY

Location: National Soil Dynamics Laboratory

Title: Tillage timing of different conservation implements for cotton production in a coastal plain Soil of central Alabama, USA

Authors
item Arriaga, Francisco
item Balkcom, Kipling
item Price, Andrew
item Donoghue, Ann

Submitted to: International Soil Tillage Research Organization Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 14, 2006
Publication Date: October 31, 2006
Citation: Arriaga, F.J., Balkcom, K.S., Price, A.J., Raper, R.L. 2006. Tillage timing of different conservation implements for cotton production in a coastal plain Soil of central Alabama, USA. In: Proceedings of the International Soil Tillage Research Organization Conference, August 28 - September 3, 2006, Kiel, Germany. p. 490-495.

Interpretive Summary: Low organic matter contents affect southeastern U.S. soils because of climatic and management factors. These soils are often prone to natural and man-created compacted layers. Tillage is required to break-up these layers for proper plant growth. A study was initiated in fall 2003 to determine the impact of tillage timing (fall vs. spring) on cotton production. Three conservation tillage systems (no-till, strip-till, and paratill) are under evaluation. Additionally, the use of rye as a winter cover crop is also being studied. Preliminary yield data for 2004 showed a significant tillage effect, with spring paratill producing highest yields, while no-till produced the lowest. No significant differences in yields with tillage were observed in 2005, but a similar trend of greater yields with spring tillage was observed. Rye negatively impacted yield, possibly because of N immobilization and that both years were wet, which reduced the benefits of the winter cover typically observed in this region. Soil moisture data for 2005 showed increased soil moisture content during the summer months with winter cover use. It is expected that conservation tillage and winter cover will benefit crop production of this region in the long-term.

Technical Abstract: Soils in the southeastern USA typically have low organic matter contents because of climatic and management factors. These soils are often prone to man-induced and natural hardpans, therefore creating the need for tillage operations. A study was initiated in fall 2003 to determine the impact of tillage timing (fall vs. spring) on cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) production. Three conservation tillage systems (no till, striptill, and paratill) are under evaluation. Additionally, the use of rye (Secale cereale L.) as a winter cover crop is also being studied. Preliminary seed-cotton yield data for 2004 showed a significant tillage effect, with spring paratill producing highest yields, while no tillage produced the lowest. No significant differences in yields with tillage were observed in 2005, but a similar trend of greater yields with spring tillage was observed. Rye negatively impacted yield, possibly because of N immobilization and that both years were wet, reducing the benefits of winter covers typically observed in this region. Soil moisture data for 2005 showed increased soil moisture content during the summer months with winter cover use. Differences in soil moisture between tillage treatments are less clear, but in general they followed a similar pattern to cotton yields. It is expected that some form of conservation tillage and winter cover will benefit crop production of this region in the long-term.

Last Modified: 8/1/2014
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