Submitted to: Sod-Based Cropping Systems Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/22/2003
Publication Date: 2/20/2003
Citation: Siri-Prieto, G., Reeves, D.W., Raper, R.L., Bransby, D.I., Gamble, B.E. 2003. Integrating winter annual grazing in a cotton-peanut rotation: forage and tillage system selection. Sod-Based Cropping Systems Conference. Interpretive Summary: Integrating livestock into cotton-peanut rotations in the Southeast offers opportunities for diversification and increased profits for producers, but grazing can result in excessive soil compaction, which can severely limit yields. We began a study in fall 2000 to develop a conservation tillage system for integrating cotton and peanut production with winter-annual grazing of stocker cattle. Two forages, oat and ryegrass, were grazed during winter at a stocking rate of two head/acre and peanut and cotton were planted following eight different tillage systems. We found ryegrass and oat provided similar animal gain but that peanut and cotton plant stands and yields were greater following oat than ryegrass. Strict no-tillage resulted in the lowest yields (less than 17% and 42% of the mean for lint cotton yield and peanut yield, respectively), but no-tillage with under-the-row subsoiling with a narrow shanked subsoiler or a paratill proved the best tillage system. This information can be used by extension, NRCS, and producers to promote the use of conservation production systems that sustain soil quality and increase income during winter without decreasing summer cash crop yields.
Technical Abstract: We began a study in fall 2000 on a Dothan sandy loam to develop a conservation tillage system for integrating cotton and peanut production with winter-annual grazing of stocker cattle. Winter forages and summer tillage were evaluated in a strip plot design with four replications. Winter pastures were oat (Avena sativa L.) and ryegrass (Lolium mutiflorum L.) for grazing. Tillage systems were: 1)Moldboard plow +disking, 2)in-row subsoil+ disking, 3) No-till with subsoil, 4) Paratill, 5)No-till with Paratill,6)strict No-till, 7)Disking, 8)Chisel+disking. There were only minor differences in forage production and animal gain. Soil compaction was increased by grazing to the 4-6 in. depth but conventional tillage or conservation tillage with non-inversion deep tillage alleviated this problem. Strict no-till had the lowest plant stand for both crops, but deep tillage (in-row subsoiling or paratilling) eliminated this problem. Cotton and peanut yields were affected by pasture and tillage systems interactions; however, peanut yield following oat was greater in all tillage systems except for moldboard plow. Strict no-till resulted in the lowest yields (<17% and <42% than the mean for lint cotton yield and peanut yield, respectively), and deep tillage was necessary to maximize yields in no-till. Oat appears less risky than ryegrass due to higher cotton and peanut yield in summer and similar animal gain in winter. Integrating grazing in a row-crop system can be achieved using non-inversion deep tillage in a conservation system, offering producers the ability to increase income during winter without decreasing summer cash crops yield.