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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #183886


item Vories, Earl

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/29/2005
Publication Date: 8/31/2005
Citation: Vories, E.D. 2005. Effect of soil compaction on furrow irrigation. Delta Center 44th Annual Field Day, Portageville, MO., University of Missouri. P. 8.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Yield-reducing impacts of soil compaction can be addressed in a more cost-effective manner through improved understanding of the spatial extent of the problem. Soil compaction causes many problems in cotton production. While most people think of the compacted soil restricting root growth, it also impedes the infiltration of water from rainfall or irrigation. The combination of a shallow root zone and poor infiltration causes those portions of the field to experience drought stress sooner than less-compacted areas. In addition, the compacted areas complicate irrigation management, particularly for furrow irrigation. Since many producers water every other middle when furrow irrigating to be able to cover more ground at a time, several rows can be affected when one of the middles being irrigated is in a compacted area. Furthermore, the combination of middles that water quickly and those that take longer makes it difficult to know when the field is sufficiently irrigated. Controlled traffic approaches, where the same row middles are always driven on, have been promoted to confine compaction to specific rows; however, modern cotton production systems employ many combinations of traffic patterns for disk hippers, planters, pesticide sprayers, fertilizer applicators, cultivators, pickers, and boll buggies. Still, much of the compaction-causing traffic follows a specific pattern. Typically, the disk hippers, bed preparation, planter, and cultivator will all follow the same pattern. Pickers will follow a different pattern and the boll buggies won't follow a specific pattern. Research begun in 2005 will investigate soil compaction directly, with a series of cone penetrometer measurements, and indirectly, by determining the effect on water intake during furrow irrigation. Production cotton fields will be utilized in on-farm research to observe the effects of large, heavy equipment and wide traffic patterns not generally used in small-plot research. Penetrometer readings will be collected from selected rows (i.e., heavy traffic, light traffic, no traffic) after stand establishment in the spring. Irrigation advance time will be measured during furrow irrigation on the same rows for two irrigations. Traffic patterns will be observed for the different operations in the field. Yield and crop growth measurements will be used to determine the effect of compaction on the crop. After harvest, the penetrometer readings will be repeated to document the effect of harvesting equipment, with additional rows added as indicated by the in-season traffic patterns. Once the field data have been collected and analyzed, an additional objective of the research is to determine the effectiveness of deep tillage and investigate alternative approaches for deep tillage that will achieve the desired results for lower cost.