Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/12/2009
Publication Date: 3/1/2006
Citation: Raper, R.L., Schwab, E.B., Bergtold, J.S. 2006. Reducing recompaction with automatic steering. In: Proceedings of the Beltwide Cotton Conference, January 4-6, 2006, San Antonio, Texas. p. 2488-2491. Interpretive Summary: Deep tillage continues to be the most effective method of removing soil compaction and enhancing crop yields in the southeastern United States. However, placing the row directly over the disturbed soil is not always easy due to increasing amounts of cover crops left on the soil surface and operator error. Results from our experiment showed that for optimum yields, the row should be placed within 2 in of the disturbed soil profile. Producers who are interested in purchasing automatic steered tractors can use this information to determine how accurate their systems must be in order to obtain maximum benefits.
Technical Abstract: Producers in the Coastal Plain of the southeastern U.S. manage soil compaction in conservation tillage systems by strip-tillage prior to planting. However, planting directly over the loosened zone of soil can be difficult in high-residue conservation tillage systems where cover crop production is maximized. Tractors with automatic steering capability could assist with adjacent placement of deep tillage and planting operations, but little is known about the accuracy necessary to maximize rooting development, reduce succeeding soil compaction, and optimize crop yield. An experiment was conducted in south-central Alabama to evaluate the distance deep tillage can be from the cotton row and still affect cotton growth and soil loosening. Results suggest that if the deep tillage exceeds two inches away from the cotton row, cotton yields are reduced and soil surface compaction is increased.