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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Comparison of Conservation Management Practices for Cotton Production in a Field with Varying Soils

Authors
item Hanks, James
item Martin, Steven - MSU-DREC
item Fisher, Daniel
item Williford, Julius

Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 9, 2007
Publication Date: May 1, 2007
Citation: Hanks, J.E., Martin, S.W., Fisher, D.K., Williford, J.R. Comparison of Conservation Management Practices for Cotton Production in a Field with Varying Soils. 2007 National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference, New Orleans. LA, January 9-12, 2007 p. 913-919

Interpretive Summary: The continuing decrease in the profitability of cotton production coupled with the desire to reduce negative impact on the environment has resulted in significant interest in developing ways of reducing cotton production cost without major reductions in yield. The objective of this study was to investigate the impact of varying soils on cotton produced with minimum-till and no-till conservation management practices. The study compared minimum-tillage practices with no-till for continuous cotton production and for cotton production in an alternate year rotation with corn. Soils consisted of very fine sandy loam, silty clay loam, and clay. Soil electrical conductivity (EC) which indicates increasing clay content as EC values increase was measured with a Veris Technologies 3100 Soil Mapping System. AGIS geographical information system (GIS) software was used for all geo-referenced processing and analyses. Furrow irrigation was used to supply supplemental water as needed. Average yields were 1068, 1127, 1138, and 1143 lint pounds per acre, respectively, for the no-till corn/cotton rotation, minimum-till continuous, no-till continuous and minimum-till corn/cotton rotation treatments. The average EC for the treatments indicated the highest productivity should be from the no-till continuous plots and the lowest from the corn/minimum-till plots. Linear regression analyses were used to develop projected yields based on soil EC and yield from previous studies. Projected yields were normalized to allow comparison of all treatments to yield of the minimum-till continuous cotton. Results of these comparisons indicated that when produced on soil with similar EC the no-till continuous treatment produced ten percent less than the minimum-till continuous cotton. Regardless of tillage method, corn/cotton rotation yielded nine percent more than continuous cotton production.

Technical Abstract: Field studies were conducted at Stoneville, MS to investigate the effects of reducing inputs with conservation management practices in cotton production in a typical Mississippi Delta field with highly variable soils. The objective of this study was to investigate the impact of varying soils on cotton produced with minimum-till and no-till conservation management practices. The study compared minimum-tillage practices with no-till for continuous cotton production and for cotton production in an alternate year rotation with corn. Soils consisted of Bosket and Dundee very fine sandy loam; Dundee and Sharkey silty clay loam; and Sharkey and Tunica clay. Soil electrical conductivity (EC) which indicates increasing clay content as EC values increase was measured with a Veris Technologies 3100 Soil Mapping System. AGIS geographical information system (GIS) software was used for all geo-referenced processing and analyses. Furrow irrigation was used to supply supplemental water as needed. Average yields were 1068, 1127, 1138, and 1143 lint pounds per acre, respectively, for the no-till corn/cotton rotation, minimum-till continuous, no-till continuous and minimum-till corn/cotton rotation treatments. The average EC for the treatments indicated the highest productivity should be from the no-till continuous plots and the lowest from the corn/minimum-till plots. Linear regression analyses were used to develop projected yields based on soil EC and yield from previous studies. Projected yields were normalized to allow comparison of all treatments to yield of the minimum-till continuous cotton. Results of these comparisons indicated that when produced on soil with similar EC the no-till continuous treatment produced ten percent less than the minimum-till continuous, no-till corn/cotton rotation produced two percent less than the minimum-till continuous, and the minimum-till corn/cotton rotation produced nine percent more than the minimum-till continuous. Regardless of tillage method, corn/cotton rotation yielded nine percent more than continuous cotton production. These results indicate reduction in the tillage input can be achieved with minimal change in cotton yield. Significant change in production practices would require varying degrees of equipment changes; therefore, a case-by-case analysis of the environmental and economic factors will need to be considered carefully before making the change to a conservation management production system.

Last Modified: 4/21/2014
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