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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Auburn, Alabama » Soil Dynamics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #308030

Title: The oldest, continuous cotton experiments in the world

item MITCHELL, CHARLES - Auburn University
item DELANEY, DENNIS - Auburn University
item Balkcom, Kipling

Submitted to: Abstract of Agronomy Meetings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/26/2014
Publication Date: 11/2/2014
Citation: Mitchell, C.C., Delaney, D.P., Balkcom, K.S. 2014. The oldest, continuous cotton experiments in the world [abstract].American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of Agronomy, Soil Science Society of America Meetings. CDROM.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: In the late 1800s, the Southern U.S. was producing most of the world’s cotton on highly erodible soils with little or no lime or fertilizer inputs. Continuous cotton with no cover crops was taking a toll from the land and its farmers. Land Grant Universities and Experiment Stations were just getting started when Professor J.F. Duggar at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Auburn University) established an experiment to test his theories that agriculture could thrive if only farmers would “. . . keep their fields green in winter.” Thus began Alabama’s “Old Rotation” experiment (circa 1896) followed by the nearby “Cullars Rotation” experiment (circa 1911), two of the oldest, continuous experiments in the world involving cotton. They were established because of a local need for information and maintained because of new and relevant data gleaned from the treatments. Administrative support has been critical. Getting them listed on the National Register of Historical Places and support from several agencies including USDA-ARS and state commodity groups have been paramount to their continuation. Keeping the experiments relevant by initiating conservation tillage, irrigation, and IPM and using data to support relevant topics such as “sustainable agriculture”, “soil health”, and “nutrient use efficiency” have been important in maintaining these historical projects.