facebook_pixel

Winter Wheat Feasible Cover Crop for Rolling Plains Cotton

By Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Dr. Paul DeLaune

 

Interest in using cover crops to improve soil health continues to grow in the Texas Rolling Plains region, but the nagging concern of reductions in soil moisture and effects on yields of subsequent cash crops still exists.

A Texas A&M AgriLife Research-led team is releasing the results of a recent simulation study that builds on field research in the December issue of Transactions of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, or ASABE, journal.

The paper, Simulated Effects of Winter Wheat Cover Crops on Cotton Production Systems of the Texas Rolling Plains, is part of the “Crop Modeling and Decision Support for Optimizing Use of Limited Water” collection by the Natural Resources and Environmental Systems Community of ASABE.

The study proved winter wheat is a feasible cover crop for Rolling Plains cotton production, said Dr. Srinivasulu Ale, AgriLife Research geospatial hydrologist at Vernon.

“We determined the wheat cover crop will not affect the soil water availability nor the yield for the succeeding cotton crop substantially under the simulated conditions,” Ale said.

Joining Ale on the publication were lead author Pradip Adhikari, Ale’s former postdoctoral student now at Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK; Nina Omani, postdoctoral research associate, and Dr. Paul DeLaune, environmental soil scientist, both with AgriLife Research at Vernon; and collaborators from the Arid Land Agricultural Research Center in Maricopa, AZ; Cotton Incorporated in Cary, NC; and the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Funding support for the research study was provided by Cotton Incorporated.

DeLaune said previous field studies from the Rolling Plains and adjacent High Plains demonstrated mixed results, with some showing a reduction in soil moisture and cash crop yield due to cover crops and others indicating no significant impact of cover crops on subsequent fiber yield.

Evaluation of the CROPGRO-Cotton and CERES-Wheat modules within the cropping system model of the Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer, or DSSAT, for the region was one of the objectives of the latest study.

The second objective was to use the evaluated modules to assess the long-term effects of growing winter wheat as a cover crop on water balances and seed cotton yield under irrigated and dryland conditions, Ale said.

Winter wheat is one of the major small-grain crops typically planted for grain or forage in the region, DeLaune said. In recent times, winter wheat has been increasingly grown as a cover crop in Rolling Plains cotton production systems.

“Since winter wheat is widely grown as a forage crop or cash crop for grain, seed is readily available, making it a popular choice as a cover crop,” he said.

Another reason for choosing it in the modeled study is winter wheat can withstand extreme winter weather conditions and provides a good option to control wind erosion during early spring, when the region commonly experiences high winds, Ale said.

The two DSSAT crop modules were evaluated using measured data on soil water and crop yield from four treatments: irrigated cotton without a cover crop, irrigated cotton with winter wheat as a cover crop, dryland cotton without a cover crop, and dryland cotton with a winter wheat cover crop at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Station at Chillicothe from 2011 to 2015.

The long-term simulated water balance components, including transpiration, runoff, soil evaporation, mulch evaporation, drainage and change in soil water, under dryland and irrigated cotton systems with and without cover crops, were compared over a 15-year period from 2001-2015.

“Detailed water balance analysis showed no substantial differences in the average change in soil water between the treatments in both dryland and irrigated systems,” Ale said. “Similarly, although there was inter-annual variability, on an average there was no substantial effect of the winter wheat cover crop on seed cotton yield under both irrigated and dryland conditions.”

He said the team’s future efforts will focus on better quantifying the soil and water conservation effects of cover crops for the region by identifying ideal cover crop termination dates and assessing the effects of cover crops on carbon and nitrogen balances in cotton production systems.

Topics: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Planting Stories
Planting

Conservation Grant to Fund GA Cover Crop Research

February 16, 2018

A USDA-sponsored Conservation Innovation Grant will support ongoing University of Georgia research on cover crops and their effects on water quality and availability for row crop production.

Planting

Timely Rains Boost Panhandle Cotton

August 11, 2017

Timely and widespread rains in the Texas Panhandle arrived in time to help put fields on track for a good season.

Planting

TX Cotton Growers Watching Moisture Levels Closely

May 25, 2017

There is some concern that soil moisture in 2017 could be problematic, especially for Texas dryland cotton producers.

Planting

Seven Tips for Successful Cotton Planting

April 19, 2017

According to NC State Cotton Specialist Guy Collins, growers need to keep seven tips in mind at planting to help ensure a successful cotton stand.

Planting

More Cotton, Less Grain Likely in Texas in 2017

February 24, 2017

Cotton acres in Texas will likely increase this season, as producers seek an alternative to grains.

Planting

Optimize Irrigation and Fertility in High Plains Cotton

February 21, 2017

With many producers in the northern High Plains considering cotton this year, optimizing irrigation and fertility will be important to their bottom line.

Planting

Field Prep Underway for South TX Planting

February 2, 2017

With spring planting a few weeks away, growers in south Texas are making good progress on field preparation.

Around The Gin
Product News

Bayer Shares the Risk with Cotton Farmers

January 26, 2018

Bayer offers replant, crop loss and yield protection to growers who plant FiberMax and Stoneville cotton seed.

Product News

Americot Adds New Sales Support in GA, KS and TX

January 23, 2018

Americot has expanded its sales support team in Georgia, Kansas and the Rolling Plains of Texas.

Product News

Indigo Offers Premium for Indigo Cotton Production

January 9, 2018

Indigo Ag has announced a new program that offers significant price premiums for U.S. cotton growers who contract to grow Indigo Cotton.

Product News

New Bayer Varieties Focus on High Yield, Adaptability

January 5, 2018

Bayer releases five new FiberMax and Stoneville varieties for introduction in 2018.

Product News

New PhytoGen TRiO Guards Cottonseed Investment

January 3, 2018

New PhytoGen TRiO seed treatment helps provide early season protection for young cottonseed from diseases, insects and nematodes.

Product News

Americot Adds Seven to Sales, Research Teams

December 20, 2017

Americot has added seven new sales and research associates to the company’s staff across the Cotton Belt.

Product News

Seven New Varieties in Deltapine Class of 18

December 11, 2017

Seven new varieties – including five Bollgard 3 XtendFlex offerings – join the Deltapine product lineup as the Class of 18.

Product News

Special Roundup Ready PLUS Incentives for Arkansas

December 7, 2017

Monsanto is offering a special Roundup Ready PLUS Crop Management Solutions platform in Arkansas for 2018 for growers planting XtendFlex cotton and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybean varieties.

Latest News
Planting

Conservation Grant to Fund GA Cover Crop Research

February 16, 2018

A USDA-sponsored Conservation Innovation Grant will support ongoing University of Georgia research on cover crops and their effects on water quality and availability for row crop production.

Planting

Winter Wheat Feasible Cover Crop for Rolling Plains Cotton

November 27, 2017

A study led by Texas A&M AgriLife proved winter wheat can be a feasible cover crop for Rolling Plains cotton production.

Planting

Conservation Tillage Can Pay Off in Georgia

October 24, 2017

Conservation tillage saves time and money and improves the soil, but only a small percentage of Georgia farmers currently use the system.

Planting

Timely Rains Boost Panhandle Cotton

August 11, 2017

Timely and widespread rains in the Texas Panhandle arrived in time to help put fields on track for a good season.

Planting

TX Cotton Growers Watching Moisture Levels Closely

May 25, 2017

There is some concern that soil moisture in 2017 could be problematic, especially for Texas dryland cotton producers.

Planting

Seven Tips for Successful Cotton Planting

April 19, 2017

According to NC State Cotton Specialist Guy Collins, growers need to keep seven tips in mind at planting to help ensure a successful cotton stand.

Planting

More Cotton, Less Grain Likely in Texas in 2017

February 24, 2017

Cotton acres in Texas will likely increase this season, as producers seek an alternative to grains.

Planting

Optimize Irrigation and Fertility in High Plains Cotton

February 21, 2017

With many producers in the northern High Plains considering cotton this year, optimizing irrigation and fertility will be important to their bottom line.

Planting

Field Prep Underway for South TX Planting

February 2, 2017

With spring planting a few weeks away, growers in south Texas are making good progress on field preparation.

Planting

Cover Crop Costs Recovered on Rolling Plains Cotton

December 28, 2016

Irrigated cotton producers on the Texas Rolling Plains could potentially be reaping more dollars per acre if they include a cover crop on their continuous cotton.

Planting

Increasing Planter Capacity: Go Faster or Wider?

October 11, 2016

New technologies are giving growers more options to speed up planting. The best solution is the one better suited for your field shape and size.

Planting

Managing Cotton after Uneven Emergence

June 13, 2016

Mississippi State University specialists offer guidelines for managing cotton fields with uneven plant maturity.

Planting

Guidelines for Replanting Decisions

May 24, 2016

There are no definitive guidelines for making replant decisions. But a list of factors to consider may help make those decisions a bit easier.

Planting

Improved Soil Moisture for Most Texas Cotton Fields

May 4, 2016

Improved soil moisture in most cotton fields in Texas are pushing growth and maturity in early-planted acres and are setting up the state’s northern acres for good planting conditions.

Planting

USDA Projects 9.56 Million Cotton Acres in 2016

March 31, 2016

USDA’s March 31 Prospective Plantings report projects that U.S. cotton growers will plant 9.56 million acres in 2016 – an 11% increase over last year.