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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Auburn, Alabama » Soil Dynamics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #368141

Research Project: Conservation Systems to Improve Production Efficiency, Reduce Risk, and Promote Sustainability

Location: Soil Dynamics Research

Title: Effects of different rollers and rye termination methods on soil moisture and cotton production in a no-till system

item Kornecki, Ted

Submitted to: Journal of Cotton Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2020
Publication Date: 12/30/2020
Citation: Kornecki, T.S. 2020. Effects of different rollers and rye termination methods on soil moisture and cotton production in a no-till system. Journal of Cotton Science. 24(4):197-210.

Interpretive Summary: United States producers are always looking for improved methods to manage cover crops in no -till system. Roller/crimpers are still being adopted by farmers to terminate cover crops without herbicides. Three roller types were evaluated on a rye cover crop and compared to non-rolled and rolled with glyphosate application. To increase rye termination, rolling was done one, two and three times over the same cover crop area. Results indicate that rolling more than once, vastly increased rye termination rates. Patented multiple stage rollers (2-stage and 4-stage) making 3 passes over the same area consistently had termination rates of 90% or greater just 7 days after rolling which is the same as the supplemental glyphosate treatment. All rolled rye residue showed an increase in soil moisture content compared to non-rolled rye illustrating the benefits of moisture preservation which is crucial during planting season. Cotton emergence and yield were not affected by rolling treatments in any of the growing seasons. Overall, using rollers/crimpers for cover crop management preserved soil moisture and are proven as effective as commercial herbicides in terminating a rye and planting cotton directly into desiccated rye residue.

Technical Abstract: Roller/crimpers have been used to terminate cover crops typically with supplemental herbicide application to speed-up termination. Due to environmental concerns, there is a need to reduce herbicide use. In the Southern USA, the cash crop is planted approximately 3 weeks after rolling when the cover crop reaches more than 90% termination rate which reduces competition for water and nutrients. A replicated 3-year field experiment was initiated in 2015 to determine the effectiveness of different roller/crimpers in terminating a cereal rye cover crop in central AL, USA. Experimental 2-stage, 4-stage, and spiral rollers were tested to roll rye 1, 2, and 3 times. A smooth roller with spraying boom using glyphosate was also evaluated, and untreated rye was the control. Rye was terminated at the milk growth stage and was evaluated 7, 14 and 21 days after rolling. At 7 days after rolling, the highest termination was obtained by the 4-stage (94%) rolled 3 times, 2-stage (91%) rolled 3 times, smooth roller with glyphosate (90%) and smooth roller rolled 3 times (89%). The spiral roller generated termination from 81% to 86%; the control was 40%. At 14 days after rolling no differences among rollers were found (95% to 97%); the control was 49%. Similarly, at 21 days after rolling no differences were detected among rollers (99% to 100%); the control was 88%. Rolled rye residue had higher volumetric soil moisture content compared with untreated control. During the experiment, rolling treatments had an effect on cotton emergence rate index only in 2015, but not in 2016 and 2017 growing seasons. Consistently in each growing season, cotton population and the seed cotton yield were not affected by rolling treatments.