Submitted to: Southern Conservation Tillage Systems Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/15/2005
Publication Date: 6/27/2005
Citation: Gamble, B., Siri-Prieto, G., Reeves, D.W., Raper, R.L. 2005. Forage and tillage systems for integrating winter-grazed stocker cattle in peanut production. In: Proceedings of the 27th Southern Conservation Tillage Conference. June 27-29, 2005, Florence, South Carolina. p. 162-164. CDROM. Interpretive Summary: Peanut producers are interested in double-cropping cattle and peanut, i.e., winter grazing cattle, as a means to generate additional income. But grazing can result in excessive soil compaction by cattle trampling, which can severely limit peanut yields. ARS scientists at the J. Phil Campbell Sr. Natural Resource Conservation Center, Watkinsville, GA and the Soil Dynamics Research Unit in Auburn, AL, cooperated with scientists from Auburn University and the University of the Republic of Uruguay to conduct a 3-year field study to develop a conservation tillage system for integrating peanut with winter-annual cattle grazing. They grazed oat and ryegrass during winter with stocker cattle and tested eight tillage systems for cotton planted after the cattle were removed in April each year. Tillage systems included: moldboard and chisel plowing; and combinations of non-inversion deep tillage (none, in-row subsoil or paratill) with and without disking. Peanut following oat increased soil water extraction 15%, stands 12% and yields 21% compared to peanut following ryegrass. The best tillage and forage combination was no-tillage with non-inversion in-row subsoiling following oat; providing an average net return over variable costs of $187/acre/year. Integrating winter-annual grazing using non-inversion deep tillage following oat in a conservation tillage system can benefit peanut growers, allowing extra income without sacrificing peanut yields. This information can be used by extension specialists, USDA-NRCS, crop consultants, and producers to increase farm profits and promote the use of environmentally and economically sustainable conservation practices on the 1 million acres of peanut grown in the Southeast.
Technical Abstract: The use of crop rotation systems involving winter annual grazing can help peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) producers increase profitability, however, winter-annual grazing could result in excessive soil compaction, which can severely limit yields. We conducted a 3-yr field study on a Dothan loamy sand (fine-loamy, kaolinitic, thermic Plinthic Kandiudults) in south Alabama to develop a conservation tillage system for integrating peanut with winter-annual grazing of stocker cattle under dryland conditions. Winter annual forages [oat (Avena sativa L.) and annual ryegrass (Lolium mutiflorum L.)] and tillage systems were evaluated in a strip-plot design. Tillage systems included: moldboard and chisel plowing; and combinations of non-inversion deep tillage (none, in-row subsoil or paratill) with/without disking. We evaluated soil water content, peanut leaf stomatal conductance, plant density, peanut yield, peanut net return, and total system annual net return. Peanut following oat increased soil water extraction (15%), stands (12%) and yields (21%) compared to peanut following ryegrass. Strict no-tillage resulted in the lowest yields (2045 lb/acre, 42% less than the mean of the other tillage treatments) and non-inversion deep tillage (especially in-row subsoil) was required to maximize water use and yields with conservation tillage. Net return from annual grazing ($75/acre, 3-yr mean) represented 40% of the total return for the best treatment (no-tillage with in-row subsoil following oat, $187/acre). Integrating winter-annual grazing in this region using non-inversion deep tillage following oat in a conservation tillage system can benefit peanut growers, allowing extra income without sacrificing peanut yields.