Tillage System Effects On Upland Cotton Yield and Development In Virginia

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Virginia Tech

Identifying the proper tillage system which provides the best agronomic benefits for cotton production in the coastal plain soils of Virginia was the basis for this research. Strip-tillage was evaluated from 2015-2016 on-farm to determine the effects of annual and biennial treatments on plant growth and lint yield, as well as measuring the impacts on soil compaction. Also, small plot tillage experiments were conducted from 2013-2016 assessing no-till, conventional tillage, minimum tillage, and strip-tillage as well as the subsequent effects of these systems on four cotton varieties. Biennial strip-tillage produced similar lint yields to annual strip-tillage at 3 of 4 locations, with only one location showing a significant difference in lint yield of 135 kg ha-1. Persistence of subsoil tillage within the row from the previous year was observed at some locations and plant heights were not different at all locations, although annual strip-tillage provided deeper potential rooting depths both early season and at harvest. In short term tillage systems, minimal penalties in plant growth and lint yield were observed in no-till verses the other systems, primarily associated with greater soil compaction, shorter plant heights, and lower yields. An overall 8% reduction in yield was found with no-till systems, with no significant differences in yield among tillage systems observed in any year. Varietal effects on plant growth and yield were observed annually, with FM 1944 GLB2 being the shortest plants, and DP 1321 B2RF having the tallest plants. No tillage by variety interaction was observed, supporting the idea that varieties respond similarly across tillage systems.

tillage, upland cotton, plant growth, soil compaction, lint yield, precision agriculture