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Agronomy Journal Abstract - Cotton

Cotton Yield and Fiber Quality from Irrigated Tillage Systems in the Tennessee Valley


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 98 No. 3, p. 596-602
    Received: July 26, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): kbalkcom@ars.usda.gov
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  1. Kipling S. Balkcom *a,
  2. D. Wayne Reevesb,
  3. Joey N. Shawc,
  4. Charles H. Burmesterd and
  5. Larry M. Curtise
  1. a USDA-ARS, Natl. Soil Dynamics Lab., 411 S. Donahue Dr., Auburn, AL 36832
    b USDA-ARS, J. Phil Campbell Sr.–Nat. Resour. Conserv. Cent., 1420 Experiment Stn. Rd., Watkinsville, GA 30677
    c 202 Funchess Hall, Dep. of Agron. and Soils, Auburn Univ., Auburn, AL 36844
    d Tennessee Valley Res. and Exp. Stn., P.O. Box 159, Belle Mina, AL 35615
    e (retired), Dep. of Agric. Eng., Auburn, AL 36844


Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) yield and quality responses to irrigation have not been described for conservation management systems that growers are rapidly adopting. We conducted a field experiment from 2001–2003 in the Tennessee Valley near Belle Mina, AL on a Decatur silt loam (fine, kaolinitic, thermic Rhodic Paleudults) to examine how irrigation regimes and tillage systems affect ginning percentage, lint yield, and fiber quality (length, micronaire, strength, and fiber length uniformity). Treatments were arranged with a split-plot structure in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Main plots were a factorial combination of conventional tillage (CT) with and without a fall paratill operation and no surface tillage (NST) following a rye (Secale cereale L.) cover crop with and without a fall paratill operation. Subplots were irrigation regimes (0, 2.7, 5.4, and 8.1 mm d−1). Ginning percentage increased 2% following CT in 1 of 3 yr (2002) while irrigation improved ginning percentage in 2 of 3 yr (2002 and 2003). The NST systems increased lint yields 13% in 2003 compared with CT systems while irrigation increased yields 46 and 32% over nonirrigated yields in 2002 and 2003, respectively. Fiber properties were affected by tillage systems, primarily in 2002. Irrigation regimes affected length, micronaire, and fiber length uniformity in 2002 and 2003. Fall paratilling had no effect on any measured variable, except for an inconsistent difference between tillage systems for fiber length uniformity. An irrigated conservation system, utilizing a cover crop, can improve cotton yields and positively influence fiber characteristics in the Tennessee Valley.

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