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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Auburn, Alabama » Soil Dynamics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #176318


item Raper, Randy
item Schwab, Eric
item Balkcom, Kipling
item Reeves, Donald

Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/4/2005
Publication Date: 1/4/2005
Citation: Raper, R.L., Schwab, E.B., Balkcom, K.S., Reeves, D.W. 2005. Frequency of in-row subsoiling necessary for coastal plains soils. In: Richter, D.F., editors. Proceedings of the 2005 National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference, January 4-7, 2005, New Orleans, Louisiana. p. 2488-2491.

Interpretive Summary: As farmers adopt conservation tillage systems, they have fewer opportunities to eliminate compacted soil layers which can reduce crop yields. Currently, most producers conduct annual deep tillage to allow crop roots to grow uninhibited into the soil profile and obtain valuable soil moisture. An experiment was conducted to determine if soils managed with conservation systems required annual deep tillage, or if this deep tillage event could be postponed to every two or three years. No difference in cotton yield was found between any of the tillage frequencies nor were there any differences found between several shanks tested. An improved soil condition did result from the use of annual tillage that could result in improved crop yields during years of drought stress. Producers in the southeastern U.S. who want to reduce their risk may want to continue to conduct annual deep tillage to reduce the ill effects of soil compaction.

Technical Abstract: Less frequent subsoiling could provide adequate loosening of compacted soil profiles for soils which are subject to severe soil compaction. However, most farmers practice annual subsoiling for fear that their soil could prematurely recompact and reduce cotton yields. An experiment was conducted in south-central Alabama using three subsoilers to determine their ability to maintain a loosened soil profile over a one, two, and three-year period. Results in the final year of the experiment didn't find any differences between cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) yields resulting from tillage three-, two-, and one-year previous. However, significantly reduced soil compaction was measured in the plots that were annually subsoiled.