Tillage and Residue Effects on Infiltration into Soils Cropped to Cotton
- R. L. Baumhardt ,
- J. W. Keeling and
- C. W. Wendt
Greater infiltration of precipitation increases water available for cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.), wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), and sorghum [Sorghum bicolor L. (Moench)] production on the semiarid Texas Sooth Plains. The objective of this study was to determine the short-term effects of tillage and crop residues on water infiltration into an Olton clay loam (fine, mixed, thermic Aridic Paleustoll), Pullman clay loam (fine, mixed, thermic Torrertic Paleustoll), and Amarillo loamy fine sand (fine-loamy, mixed, thermic Aridic Paleustalf). Cropping treatments included (i) conventional tillage of continuous cotton (CVT), (ii) no-tillage, limited residue, of continuous cotton (C-NTL), and (iii) no-tillage of cotton grown in rotation with limited grain sorghum (S-NTL), or (iv) wheat (W-NTL) residues. Final infiltration rate (IR) and cumulative infiltration (CI) was measured three soils during three successive years after applying well water at 80 mm h−1 for 1 h with a rotating disk-type rainfall simulator. Cumulative infiltration varied between 40 and 60 mm and did not increase with increasing sand content among the three soils tested. Compared to CVT, neither W-NTL nor S-NTL resulted in significantly greater infiltration. Except on the Pullman soil, C-NTL consistently had the lowest CI; however, its infiltration tended to increase with time to a level similar to the other rotations of reduced till crops. Results shown that infiltration into these soils at mid-growing season was not affected by no-tillage management of limited crop residues.
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