Submitted to: Soil and Water Conservation Society Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 21, 1996
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The Chiselvator is a high-residue cultivator that helps maintain soil quality. It can eliminate weeds using less chemical control while retaining surface residues from cover crops. Unburied residues help maintain soil organic matter and improve erosion control. This supports the advantages of mechanical weed control while keeping the advantages of conservation tillage. Many SE Coastal Plain soils have a subsurface hardpan that restricts root growth. The pan is usually disrupted with a preplant subsoiler. The Chiselvator provides relatively deep mid-row soil disturbance to encourage root growth. It has a shank that is used to manage cultivation depth control. The shank disrupts soil to a 20-cm (8-in after planting, eliminating a barrier to root growth in high strength soils. In the summers of 1994 and 1995, we planted cotton into a standing winter rye cover crop. We measured soil and plant characteristics for plots that were subsoiled at planting or not subsoiled and cultivated or not. Cultivating with the Chiselvator 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. Though the cultivator decreased soil strength, it did not improve plant characteristics or yield.