Webcast Explains Value of No-till and Cover Crops in Texas Cotton

Many cotton producers are interested in conservation agriculture but question how practices such as no-till and cover crops will fit into their farming operations.

Paul DeLaune of Texas A&M AgriLife Research addresses these concerns in a 40-minute webcast – “Implementing No-Till and Cover Crops in Texas Cotton Systems” – available as part of the Focus on Cotton series of webcasts from the Plant Management Network.

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Healthy soil leads to productive and sustainable agriculture, and farmers who work with, not against, the soil can improve the resiliency of their land. It’s why practices such as no-till and cover crops and topics such as regenerative agriculture and soil biology have become increasingly important in the agricultural conversation.

While producers of many major crops in the United States have adopted conservation agriculture practices, cotton producers have lagged behind. In 2018, conservation tillage (which includes no-till, strip-till and mulch tillage) was used in 70% of soybean acres, 67% of wheat acres, and 65% of corn acres but only 40% of cotton acres.

In his webcast, DeLaune outlines the impact of conservation tillage and cover crop practices on cotton yields, economic returns, soil water storage and soil health in dryland and irrigated cotton systems, including:

  • How no-till with cover crop or no-till produces much higher net returns than conventional till
  • How no-till systems have produced improved yields over the long term
  • Input on which cover crops are most effective, and how higher seeding rates don’t necessarily translate to higher biomass production.

The Focus on Cotton series contains more than 100 webcasts – plus presentations from six other conferences – on various aspects of cotton crop management, including agronomic practices, crop protection, harvest and ginning, soil health and crop fertility, and precision agriculture. The presentations are accessible online at any time.

Based on information provided by the American Phytopathological Society