Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 9, 1997
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Cover crops protect the soil surface, scavenge residual fertilizer nitrogen, and increase soil organic matter. We evaluated whether blackoat (Avena strigosa) could serve as a cover crop for cotton (Gossypium hirsutum). In a greenhouse study, blackoat, rye (Secale cereale), and crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum) were mixed with soil. Emergence and taproot length of radish (Raphanus sativa) and cotton seedlings grown in the soil mix were measured. Blackoat, rye, wheat (Triticum aestivum), and oats (Avena sativa) were seeded into field plots in mid-October, early-November, and early-December in 1994 and 1995. Cotton was planted the following spring each year. In the greenhouse study, cotton emergence was reduced by crimson clover but not by rye or blackoat. Radish emergence was not affected by any of the species. The order of root length inhibition of both cotton and radish was clover>blackoat>rye. In the field study, blackoat biomass production and N accumulation were similar to the other winter cereals in the 1994-95 season. In the 1995-96 season, rye, which tolerated a hard freeze better than the other species, had higher biomass and N accumulation than blackoat, wheat, and oats at all seeding dates. Winter cover species and winter cover seeding date did not influence cotton lint yield. Although more research is needed, blackoat appears to have potential as a winter cover crop for cotton in the SE USA.