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: Applied Engineering in Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 26, 2009
Publication Date: April 1, 2009
Citation: Raper, R.L., Schwab, E.B., Bergtold, J.S., Price, A.J., Balkcom, K.S., Arriaga, F.J., Kornecki, T.S. 2009. Maximizing Cotton Production and Rye Cover Crop Biomass Through Timely In-Row Subsoiling. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 25(3):321-328.
Interpretive Summary: Time is always in short supply in the spring as farmers begin to plant their cash crop. However, many farmers in the Southeastern United States must conduct an additional operation by conducting an in-row subsoiling operation prior to planting. This experiment was conducted to determine if this operation could be conducted during winter months when time is not as critical without detrimentally disturbing any cover crops that were planted the previous fall. Results indicated that the most beneficial time to conduct the in-row subsoiling operation was just prior to planting. This timing provided maximum cash crop yields. Late spring in-row subsoiling also provided optimum cover crop yields which assists with cash crop production as well as the potential to harvest for biomass if practical.
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.