Back to Focus
on Cotton

Improving Soil Health
in Cotton Cropping Systems

December 2015

By Steve Woodruff, Ph.D.
Natural Resources Conservation Service

Watch Presentation (21 min 25 sec)

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Summary: In the past, most growers and those in agricultural related fields, have regarded soils as the medium for growing plants with different parts, sand, silt, and clay. Now there is an increasing interest in soil health and understanding the role soil biology plays in the growing of our crops.

This presentation will help consultants, county agents, growers, and other practitioners in the Southern U.S. cotton-producing states to understand how soils function and how improving soil health can increase water holding capacity while reducing runoff and moderating soil temperatures. Improving soil health is accomplished through management practices that provide habitat and food for the soil biology.

This presentation will help in the understanding and implementation of the four basic principles of soil health which leads to better water use efficiency. These four principles are: minimize soil disturbance, increase plant diversity, grow a living root year round, and keep the soil covered.

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