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Title: Rooting Dynamics Associated with Minimal Tillage in the Semi-Arid Peanut Production Region of West Texas

item Rowland, Diane
item Faircloth, Wilson
item Payton, Paxton

Submitted to: Southern Conservation Tillage Systems Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2008
Publication Date: 9/1/2008
Citation: Rowland, D., Faircloth, W.H., Payton, P.R. 2008. Rooting Dynamics Associated with Minimal Tillage in the Semi-Arid Peanut Production Region of West Texas . Southern Conservation Tillage Systems Conference.

Interpretive Summary: none required

Technical Abstract: Conservation tillage systems have the potential to significantly affect the rooting architecture of many crops. These effects can include increases in overall root mass, changes in fine vs. large root partitioning, changes in effective rooting depth, and concentration of root mass at deeper soil depths. Determining changes in crop root systems in response to tillage are important to quantify because they can have far reaching implications from crop water-use, organic carbon processes, to microbial population influences. Recently, research has been demonstrating the positive effects on crop root systems in conservation tillage systems in the southeastern U.S. In particular, benefits to soil water holding capacity and concomitant decreases in crop water uptake have been quantified and used as evidence for increasing the water-use efficiency of a cropping system as a whole. One particular environment that could dramatically benefit from a more water efficient production environment is the peanut production area of west Texas, a major peanut producing region in the U.S. Root system establishment, development, and architecture were examined throughout the growing season in a peanut production system in Lubbock, Texas through the use of mini-rhizotrons. Peanuts were grown in a factorial combination of two irrigation regimes (50% and 100% ET replacement) and two tillage systems (conventional, and strip tillage utilizing a full bed cover crop in the previous fall and winter seasons). Measurements of soil moisture had shown improved water retention in the strip tillage plots (see Faircloth et al.). Therefore, root system dynamics were expected to respond differentially between conventional and conservation tillage systems due to differences in water availability.