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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Minimum Tillage Cultivation in a Hardpan Soil

Authors
item Busscher, Warren
item Bauer, Philip
item Reeves, Donald
item Langdale, George - RETIRED
item Burt, Eddie

Submitted to: Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: April 15, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Deep tillage increases production in hardpan soils of the southeastern Coastal Plain. During times of stress, it may be necessary for plant survival. Deep tillage is usually done with a subsoiler that disrupts soil sixteen inches deep, but only below the row, not between rows. A relatively new cultivator, the Brown Chiselvator, disrupts soil to eight inches between rows while controlling weeds and leaving residues on the surface where they can protect soil from erosion. We tested the Chiselvator in a cotton field to find out if its eight-inch-deep disruption between rows improved plant growth and yield. Cultivation softened the soil, even when used in combination with the subsoiler. While subsoiling improved plant growth and yields, cultivation did not. This information is important to researchers and producers developing improved cotton production systems for the Coastal Plain.

Technical Abstract: To reduce strength in a hardpan soil, a high-residue cultivator with 8-in-d and both subsoiling and cultivation. Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) was planted into standing winter ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) or winter fallow. Cultivation significantly lowered soil strength over not tilling. When performed with subsoiling, it lowered strength over subsoiling only. Yield was increased by subsoiling. Yields in cultivated plots were similar to those in non-cultivated plots. Yields for fallow plots were higher than for the rye cover. Though the cultivator decreased soil strength, it did not improve plant characteristics or yield.

Last Modified: 9/20/2014
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