Submitted to: World Cotton Research Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/10/2007
Publication Date: 9/14/2007
Citation: Acosta Martinez, V., Zobeck, T.M., Booker, J., Upchurch, D.R. 2007. Managing soil properties through dryland cropping system intensities [abstract]. World Cotton Research Conference, September 10-14, 2007, Lubbock, Texas.
Technical Abstract: The transition from irrigated to dryland production is imminent for the Southern High Plains region due to the minimum recharge occurring to the Ogallala aquifer. Thus, a long-term dryland study was established on USDA-ARS farmland near Lubbock, Texas in 2003 to evaluate the ability of different cropping systems to modify the properties of semiarid soils including the potential of these soils as a water storage-reservoir for crop production. After 3 yrs, rotations with a winter cover crop such as cotton (Gossypium hirsutum)-rye (Secale cereale)-sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) and haygrazer (alfalfa-sorghum hybrid, Sorghum bicolor L.)-rye demonstrated higher soil microbial populations (1.7 times higher) and enzyme activities of C and P cycling (up to 2 times higher) compared to continuous cotton or cotton-sorghum. Soil organic mater was higher under hay-rye rotation compared to the other cropping systems. Water infiltration rates were higher among cropping systems under no-tillage compared to conventional tillage. Although there have been rapid improvements in soil properties, total weight and lint of cotton have been similar in continuous monoculture compared to the rotations.