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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Dryland Cotton Production

Authors
item Fryrear, Donald
item Bilbro Jr, James

Submitted to: Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station Special Reports
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: July 1, 1995
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The major objectives of dryland cotton producers are (1) to store as much rainfall as possible in the soil so lint yields will be at a maximum; and (2) to maintain the fields in a condition such that there will be no loss of soil or plants by wind erosion. Techniques used for storing rain include breaking crusted soils with shallow tillage, keeping the soil surface covered with plant residues as much as possible, farming perpendicular to the slope of the land (contouring), installing terraces, chiseling the soil deeply to break up any hard layers of soil, and using diking in the furrows to prevent rainfall runoff. Wind erosion is prevented by keeping the soil surface in a "rough" condition by using proper tillage implements when the soil is wet enough to form non-erodible aggregates (clods). Plant windbarriers are also used to slow the wind at the soil surface so it will not be "strong" enough to move the soil particles. Fertilizers are applied to supply the plants with the nutrient they need for making maximum yields. Insect control measures are used as needed to prevent insect pests from destroying the crop.

Technical Abstract: Dryland cotton producers can increase infiltration of rainfall by breaking crusted soils with shallow tillage, keeping the soil surface covered with plant residues as much as possible, farming perpendicular to the slope of the land (contouring), installing terraces, chiseling the soil deeply to break up any hard layers of soil, and using diking in the furrows to prevent rainfall runoff. Shallow tillage and soil cover with mulching materials can reduce soil water loss from evaporation. Wind erosion soil losses and plant damage can be prevented by keeping the soil in a roughened condition, keeping 60% or more of the soil surface covered with plant residues or other nonerodible materials, and using properly spaced and properly oriented windbarriers of annual or perennial plants. The probability of attaining maximum yields is enhanced by having a proper soil fertilization program and a program to control insect and diseases.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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