Project Summaries

11-891  Project Manager: E. M. Barnes


Michael A. Gore, USDA-ARS

This project has the primary objective of comparing cotton cultivars in their yield and quality between conservation and conventional tillage systems under primed acclimation and deficit irrigated, as well as dryland production conditions.

Field plots were established at the University of Florida's Plant Science Research and Education Unit located in Citra, FL. Treatments included: two varieties: Phytogen 375WRF and Phytogen 499WRF; two tillage treatments (conventional and strip); and four water regimes (dryland, 60% deficit, 60% primed acclimation [60PA], and 100% full irrigation). The 60PA treatment applied 60% of the full irrigation treatment up to first flower and then will apply 100% full irrigation for the rest of the season. Prior to the initial crop in 2011, a rye cover crop was planted, but in the conventional tillage treatments, plots where then disked twice, turned with a moldboard plow and smoothed with a disking and field cultivator. During this same time period in the strip till plots, the rye was rolled with a flat drum roller.

This research has documented the feasibility of utilizing strip tillage for both irrigated and non-irrigated cotton production in north central Florida on deep sands. The benefits over conventional tillage often associated with strip tillage were not realized in the two years of the study. However, soil and root measurements indicate that this might not have been enough time to fully achieve the soil enhancing properties associated with strip tillage. Overall, these results also indicated that there was no detriment to using strip tillage on this soil type and, when factoring the lowered fuel costs associated with strip tillage, there may be an economic benefit to the use of conservation over conventional tillage systems. This research has validated this production system in this region and provides southeastern cotton producers a cropping system that is sustainable and with possible water conservation characteristics with longer periods of adoptability.


Project Year: 2012

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