Tillage Systems for Cotton on Silty Upland Soils
- Glover B. Triplett ,
- Seth M. Dabney and
- James H. Siefker
No-tillage systems for cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) production on sloping, upland sites have not been widely adopted in the Mid-South of the USA, even though conventional cotton production creates a serious erosion hazard. A field study was established following sod on a site with loess soils to evaluate tillage system effect on cotton yield and earliness. The sod was tilled prior to establishment of treatments, which included conventional (chisel, disk, bed, cultivate), ridge till (remove ridge tops at planting, cultivate postemergencteo rebuild ridges), no-tillage [wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cover seeded following cotton harvest, killed prior to planting], and minimum tillage (one pass with a mulch finisher prior to planting, cultivate postemergence). During the first year of the study, no-tillage cotton yields were lower and maturity delayed compared with conventional tillage. During Years 3 to 5, no-tillage crop yields were 18 to 42% greater and crop maturity was 6 to 10 d earlier than conventional tillage. Minimum tillage yields were similar to conventional tillage while ridge tillage was lower in two of the last 3 yr of the study. Results of this study indicate viable no-tillage production systems for cotton can be developed for highly erosive loess soils in the Mid-South.
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