Submitted to: International Soil Tillage Research Organization Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/14/2003
Publication Date: 7/14/2003
Citation: Siri-Prieto, G., Reeves, D.W., Raper, R.L. 2003. Conservation tillage systems for cotton and peanut following winter-annual grazing. In: Proceedings of the 16th Internatinal Soil Tillage Research Organization (ISTRO) Conference, July 14-19, 2003, Brisbane, Australia. p. 1143-1148. Interpretive Summary: Integrating livestock into cotton-peanut rotations in the Southeast offers opportunities for diversification and increased farm profits, however, producers combining winter-annual grazing of cattle with cotton and peanut production have noted reduced crop yields on degraded soils with low organic matter due to soil compaction . We conducted a field study to determine the best tillage system for integrating cotton and peanut production with winter grazing of cattle to reduce compaction while maintaining or improving soil quality. 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. Strict no-tillage following grazing resulted in 20% reduced cotton yields and 37% reduced peanut yields compared to no-tillage with non-inversion under-the-row tillage, which produced the best yields. In conventional tillage systems, deep tillage did not show any yield improvements for cotton or peanuts. Oat was also found to be a better winter forage than rye due to increased peanut yield. This information can be used by producers to promote the use of conservation production systems that offers producers the ability to increase income during winter months while protecting the soil from erosion and creating a more sustainable production system in the southern USA.
Technical Abstract: Doublecropping cotton behind winter-annual grazing offers potential for added income but may limit yields due to soil compaction. A 2-yr field study was conducted at two locations [both Plinthic Paleudults] in south Alabama to develop a conservation tillage system for integrating cotton and peanut production with winter annual grazing of stocker cattle under dryland conditions. Treatments were arranged in a strip plot design with four replications. Winter forages (main plots) were oat (Avena sativa L.) and ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum L.). Grazing was continuous as contract grazing from January to April at a stocking rate of two head/acre. Tillage systems for cotton (subplots) included: moldboard with disk leveling, chisel and disk; and non-inversion deep tillage (none, in-row subsoiling or paratilling) with and without disking. Grazing increased soil compaction 9% in the first 10 cm averaged over all treatments but conventional tillage or non-inversion deep tillage conservation tillage systems alleviated this problem. Forage species did not affect cotton yields. However, peanut yields were 13% greater with oat than with ryegrass. Strict no-tillage resulted in the lowest yields and non-inversion deep tillage [in-row subsoiling or paratilling] was necessary to maximize yields in both crops with no-tillage. Deep tillage did not increase cotton or peanut yields in conventional tillage. Oat was less risky than ryegrass due to better peanut yield. Integrating winter annual grazing with cotton and peanut can be achieved using non-inversion deep tillage in a conservation tillage system.