CONSERVATION SYSTEMS RESEARCH FOR IMPROVING ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY AND PRODUCER PROFITABILITY
Location: National Soil Dynamics Laboratory
Title: Maximizing cotton production and rye cover crop biomass through timely in-row subsoiling
Submitted to: Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: July 31, 2008
Publication Date: July 31, 2008
Citation: Raper, R.L., Schwab, E.B., Bergtold, J.S., Price, A.J., Balkcom, K.S., Arriaga, F.J., Kornecki, T.S. 2008. Maximizing cotton production and rye cover crop biomass through timely in-row subsoiling. In: Endale, D.M., editor. Proceedings of the 30th Southern Conservation Agricultural Systems Conference and 8th Annual Georgia Conservation Production Systems Training Conference, July 29-31, 2008, Tifton, GA. p. 161-165.
Interpretive Summary: Maximum benefit from a cover crop can be achieved if the amount of biomass left on the soil surface is also maximized. Additionally, there is a possibility that some biomass from a cover crop could be harvested for cellulose bioenergy without degrading soil quality. However, soil compaction disruption has not been considered as a method of improving cover crop production potential. This study determined that maximum cover crop biomass yields and cash crop yields were achieved when in-row subsoiling was performed late in the spring prior to cash crop planting and immediately after cover crop termination. Results of this study can be used by producers looking to improve their soil quality while also maximizing crop yields.
Most tillage and fertilizer practices attempt to maximize cash crop yields and do not focus on increasing cover crop yields. This project was conducted to determine the optimum time to perform in-row subsoiling in order to maximize cash crop and cover crop production. Two implements (Paratill or a KMC Rip/Strip) were used to perform in-row subsoiling at 6-week intervals beginning in the late fall in actively growing cover crops. Results indicated that maximum yields occurred for the cash crop and the cover crop by performing in-row subsoiling late in the spring after the cover crop had been terminated. All in-row subsoiling treatments were found to be superior to no-tillage which exhibited reduced plant growth, infiltration, and increased soil compaction.