Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Bushland, Texas » Conservation and Production Research Laboratory » Soil and Water Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #225589

Title: Conservation tillage and deficit irrigation effects on water use and yield of cotton and corn

item Baumhardt, Roland - Louis
item Schwartz, Robert
item Howell, Terry

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/3/2008
Publication Date: 10/5/2008
Citation: Baumhardt, R.L., Schwartz, R.C., Howell, T.A. 2008. Conservation tillage and deficit irrigation effects on water use and yield of cotton and corn [abstract]. 2008 Joint Meeting of American Society of Agronomy, Soil Science Society of America, and Crop Science Society of America, October 5-9, 2008, Houston, Texas. Paper No. 755-8. 2008 CDROM.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Increasing pumping costs and declining well capacities in the Southern High Plains encourage producers to consider residue retaining conservation tillage practices to improve precipitation capture and increase yield. Objectives were to quantify tillage effects on i) fallow precipitation storage for a wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) – summer crop – fallow crop rotation (WSF), and ii) yield of deficit irrigated cotton [Gossypium hirsutum (L.)] and corn (Zea mays L.). Winter wheat was sown at 4 g/m**2 in early September 2004 and 2005 using 0.25-m rows on a Pullman clay loam (fine, mixed, superactive, thermic Torrertic Paleustoll) at the USDA-ARS, Conservation and Production Research Laboratory, Bushland, Texas. Cotton and corn were planted in 0.76-m rows at 24 and 15 seeds/m**2, respectively, in May 2006 and 2007. Disk, sweep, and no–till systems were used for weed control during the intervening fallow periods and with herbicides during the growing season. Summer crops were irrigated with a linear move mid-elevation spray system at 2.5 or 5.0 mm/d on ~ 10 d intervals. Fallow storage of rain increased with decreasing tillage intensity in no–till and stubblemulch treatments. Cumulative water use increased with increasing irrigation; however, tillage effects on water use varied with year and irrigation level. Crop yields were significantly greater for conservation tillage practices compared with the 20 to 35% lower disk tillage yields depending on growing season conditions. The better growing conditions of 2007 diminished tillage effects on yields due to increasing irrigation from 2.5 to 5.0 mm/d. Yield of cotton and corn in 2006 increased 10 to 40% (respectively) with increasing irrigation and conservation tillage. Residue retaining conservation tillage practices increased crop water use and yield through increased fallow season soil water storage and reduced evaporation of irrigation water.