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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 58 No. 5, p. 1416-1423
    Received: Oct 25, 1993

    * Corresponding author(s): a03Lctemple@attmail.com
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Fertilizer Nitrogen Requirements for Cotton Production as Affected by Tillage and Traffic

  1. H. A. Torbert  and
  2. D. W. Reeves
  1. USDA-ARS Grassland Soil and Water Research Lab., 808 East Blackland Rd., Temple, TX 76502
    USDA-ARS National Soil Dynamics Lab., Box 3439, Auburn, AL 36831-3439



Soil compaction and its associated problems have led to interest in investigating the interactive effects of traffic and tillage systems on fertilizer N requirement for cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.). In 1987, a study was initiated on a thermic Typic Hapludult soil complex with a cropping system of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)-cotton double cropped. The experimental design was a split-split plot with four replications. Main plots were two traffic treatments (conventional and no-traffic), subplots were four tillage systems for cotton (surface tillage without subsoiling [surface-only], surface tillage and annual in-row subsoiling [subsoiling], surface tillage with one-time-only complete disruption of the tillage pan [complete], or no surface tillage and in-row subsoiling [strip-till]), and sub-subplots were four N rates (0, 45, 90, and 135 kg N ha−1). In addition, application of 15N-labeled NH4NO3 was made to microplots inside each tillage-traffic-90 kg N ha−1 plot. In 1990 and 1991, increasing N application increased cotton biomass and decreased lint percentage. In the dry year of 1990, no-traffic decreased seed cotton yield from 1500 to 1360 kg ha−1, while tillage had no significant effects on cotton yield components. Above-normal rainfall in 1991 resulted in the strip-till with no-traffic treatment having the highest seed cotton yield (2749 kg ha−1) and the greatest fertilizer N uptake efficiency (35%). Results indicate that the detrimental effects of traffic on N uptake efficiency may be reduced with conservation tillage systems and that higher fertilizer N application rates may not be needed for conservation tillage practices such as strip-till in Coastal Plain soils.

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