Research Project

Examining and Developing Sustainable Production Systems in Cotton to Improve Water Resources in the Mid-Southern USA

Investigators: Drew Gholson

Funding Agency: Cotton Incorporated

Project Summary

OBJECTIVE: Evaluate tillage and cover crop conservation management practices on lint yield, profitability, irrigation water use efficiency, rainfall capture, tailwater runoff, consumptive water use, runoff water quality, and soil health. Seven production systems will be evaluated: 1) reduced tillage with subsoiling (control), 2) strip tillage, 3) strip tillage with cover crop, 4) strip tillage with cover crop and subsoiling, 5) no-tillage, 6) no-tillage with cover crop, and 7) minimal surface disturbance (no-tillage with cover crop and subsoiling).

Excessive and incorrectly timed tillage and irrigation applications are leading causes of agricultural non-point source pollution and aquifer decline in the Mid-Southern USA. Water quality and quantity problems could be improved if more producers adopt management strategies that reduce tillage, increase surface residues, and optimize irrigation timing and delivery. Sustainable cotton production systems must be developed for producers in the Mid-Southern USA. A joint project with the USDA-ARS National Sedimentation Laboratory and Mississippi State University was established at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, MS in 2003 to quantify the effects of conservation practices on erosion, runoff, and agrochemical transport. The experimental objectives, unique capabilities due to field instrumentation, and expertise of personnel involved in this research perfectly align with the Cotton Industries' "10 Year Goals for U.S. Cotton." Results from this study will be disseminated through extension and outreach efforts, promoting the adoption of a successful conservation system in the Mid-Southern USA.

  • Crop Type:
  • Cotton
  • Topic:
  • Conservation Tillage
  • Cover Crops
  • Water Quality,  Cotton Sustainability

Contact NCAAR

General Information
Kaye Sullivan

Showcase Demo
Drew Gholson, Coordinator
Himmy Lo