Submitted to: Agronomy Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/9/2005
Publication Date: 11/9/2005
Citation: Arriaga, F.J., Balkcom, K.S., Raper, R.L. 2005. Conservation systems for cotton production. [abstract] Agronomy Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America Meeting. 2005 CDROM.
Technical Abstract: Soil compaction can suppress cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) yields by hindering root development. In southeastern US, soil compaction is often associated with soils that have a low organic matter content. A survey conducted in 2002 revealed that many soils in central Alabama have hard pans within the top 30-cm of soil, and these soils also had low organic matter contents. In the fall 2003 a field experiment was started to determine the potential of conservation tillage systems (no tillage, fall Paratill®, spring Paratill, and spring strip tillage) and winter cover crops [no cover, rye (Secale cereale L.), and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)] to improve crop productivity under these conditions. Soil moisture was monitored continuously during the growing season to a depth of 30 cm. An infrared thermometer was used to determine cotton leaf temperature of the uppermost fully extended leaf during the fruiting period. Both cover crops increased soil moisture about 5% during most of the growing season when compared to the no cover treatment. Additionally, leaf temperatures were reduced with cover crops, with the lowest temperatures recorded in rye, followed by wheat. Lint yields were also greater with the winter cover treatment when compared to the no cover. Preliminary data showed no significant differences in lint yield or cotton leaf temperatures between the four tillage treatments in the 2004 growing season. However, soil water content in the no-till treatment was lower for most of the 2004 season when compared to fall Paratill and spring strip-till. Winter cover and tillage treatments significantly affected lint yields in 2005. Rye and wheat increased yields significantly. Yields for no-till were significantly less in 2005 when compared to the other tillage treatments. As work continues on this study, future data should help determine which tillage and cover crop practices are most beneficial for these degraded soils.