Project Summaries

01-945TX  Project Manager: J. M. Reeves

UTILIZING AG-CARES TO ENHANCE COTTON PRODUCTION AND PROFITABILITY FOR THE TEXAS SOUTHERN HIGH PLAINS

J. Wayne Keeling, James P. Bordovsky, Terry A. Wheeler and Mark Kelley, Texas A&M University

The AG-CARES Research Validation Farm near Lamesa, TX operates as a partnership between Lamesa Cotton Growers, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. The overall objective of this project is to evaluate and demonstrate new technologies and crop management strategies to enhance cotton production and profitability for the Texas High Plains. Researchers and extension specialists from a wide range of disciplines work together on projects ranging from cultivar performance as affected by crop rotation and irrigation levels, root-knot nematode management, entomology, weed management, cotton breeding, and harvesting method effects of fiber quality.

The 2012 crop year was characterized by little rainfall (1.1") for the January - April period. Rainfall for May-September totaled 7.5" with timely rainfall during May which resulted in good germination and stands in both irrigated and dryland fields. Little rain was received in June, July, and the first half of August, which resulted in significant irrigation inputs. Lack of summer rainfall and high temperatures combined to reduce dry land yields significantly. Warm, dry conditions in October and November allowed for timely harvest and lint quality was high.

A wide range of new cultivars were evaluated under varying irrigation levels, both center-pivot and subsurface drip, to determine lint yield, fiber quality, gross revenues per acre, and water use efficiency. In-season irrigation amounts for the low, base, and high irrigation levels were 4.6", 6.8", and 9.0" per acre, respectively, for the center-pivot, and 6.1", 11.7", and 18.4" for the subsurface drip trials. Yields increased as irrigation level increased but an additional 50% irrigation input increased yields only 14% in continuous cotton. Cotton rotated with wheat increased yield 17% compared to continuous cotton. Cultivars grown under subsurface drip irrigation produced yields ranging from 1127-1842 lbs./acre across three irrigation levels, The highest irrigation level produced 14-23% higher yields with a 50% increase in irrigation compared to the base level.

The center-pivot field at AG-CARES has historically had a root-knot nematode population density capable of damaging cotton. There were differences in root-knot nematode densities between irrigation levels, with higher nematode numbers with increasing irrigation. Root-knot nematode density was similar between center-pivot and subsurface drip areas, with no nematodes recovered from dryland areas.

 

Project Year: 2012
 

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