Title: Irrigated cotton grown on sierozem soils in South Kazakhstan Authors
Submitted to: Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 25, 2012
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: In the southern Kazakhstan Gloldnaya steppe region, cotton production is a major economic activity. The sierozem soils in the region are fertile but because of the steppe’s dry environment, they need to be irrigated. However, irrigation management is challenging because both water and soils are saline. In this study, we studied soil and irrigation management for enhancing cotton production on the sierozem soils of southern Kazakhstan. For two years irrigated cotton was grown on low, moderately, and highly saline sierozem soils. Irrigation was used to reduce soil salinity and improve growth. Soils were managed with multiple tillage and cultivations by machinery and hand to maintain low bulk densities near the surface. Yields increased by 33 to 40% with reduced salinity. The high saline soils had lower yields and could not support economic plant growth every year. Soil and irrigation management could be improved by utilizing less saline soils for crop production and reducing tillage which may increase water use efficiency.
Technical Abstract: The Gloldnaya steppe has large areas of fertile sierozem soils that are important for crop production and its accompanying economic development. The soils are fertile loams but because of the steppe’s dry environment, they need to be irrigated. Our objective was to study irrigation management of cotton production on sierozem soils in southern Kazakhstan. From 2006 to 2008, we grew irrigated cotton on low, moderately, and highly saline sierozem soils in the South Kazakhstan Oblast. Soils were irrigated to reduce salinity and improve growth. Yields increased with reduced salinity especially because the highly saline soil could not support growth every year and because it had 33 to 40% lower yield when cotton was grown on it. Soils were managed with multiple tillage and cultivations by machinery and hand which maintained low bulk densities near the surface and a tillage pan at about the 30-cm depth. Future management improvements include fewer tillage operations which would decrease energy needs and compaction. Reduced upstream salinity would reduce pre-planting irrigation needs.