CONSERVATION SYSTEMS RESEARCH FOR IMPROVING ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY AND PRODUCER PROFITABILITY
Location: National Soil Dynamics Laboratory
Title: Reduction of Soil compaction in a cotton and peanut rotation using conservation systems
Submitted to: Southern Conservation Agricultural Systems Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 14, 2007
Publication Date: June 29, 2007
Citation: Simoes, P., Raper, R.L., Arriaga, F.J., Balkcom, K.S., Shaw, J.N. 2007. Reduction of Soil compaction in a cotton and peanut rotation using conservation systems. In: Wright, D.L., Marois, J.J., Scanlon, K., editors. Proceedings of the 29th Southern Conservation Agricultural Systems Conference, June 25-27, 2007, Quincy, Florida.
Interpretive Summary: Southern Coastal Plain soils benefit from conservation tillage systems since they can increase soil organic matter and available water to plants. However, some of these soils are prone to compaction, forming soil layers that restrict root growth and reduce yields. Non-inversion deep tillage has been recommended to disrupt compacted soil layers and improve soil conditions for crop development. An experiment was conducted to evaluate three subsoiling implements against a no-tillage treatment. The use of rye as a winter cover crop was also studied. Plant, soil and machinery parameters evaluated were: cotton and peanut yield, rye biomass, cotton leaf temperature, soil moisture, soil bulk density and soil compaction. Results showed consistently lower yields for no-tilled treatments. In one year of the study which a severe drought was experienced, significantly increased yields were found with the use of a rye as a winter cover crop. No differences between tillage implements were found.
Southern Coastal Plain soils benefit from the adoption of conservation tillage systems as water retention and organic matter increase which improves soil structure. However, some Coastal Plain soils are prone to compaction and tend to form hardpans which restrict root growth and reduce yields. The adoption of non-inversion deep tillage has been recommended to disrupt compacted soil layers and create an adequate medium for crop development. In spite of its efficacy, increased fuel prices have many producers questioning in-row subsoiling as too expensive. This has led to research on development of subsoiler shanks that minimally disrupt soil surface and require reduced horsepower. Three subsoiling implements were evaluated against a no-subsoiled treatment with and without a rye cover crop at the Wiregrass Research Station in Headland, AL on a Dothan loamy sand soil. Plant, soil and machinery parameters were evaluated: crop yield, cover crop biomass, cotton leaf temperature, soil moisture, bulk density, and cone index. Results showed consistently lower yields for no-subsoiled treatments. In one year of the study which was dramatically affected by drought, significantly increased yields were found with the use of a cover crop. No differences between implements were found.