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Increasing the Water Use Efficiency of
Irrigated and Dryland Cotton
With Cover Crops

August 2018

By Tyson B. Raper, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Cotton and Small Grains Specialist
Dept. of Plant Sciences
University of Tennessee
West Tennessee Research
and Education Center
Phone: 731-424-1643


Executive Summary
(3 min 53 sec)

Full Presentation
(15 min 31 sec)


for PC, Mac, and
Mobile Devices
(11.2 MB)

Podcast (3.54 MB)

for PC, Mac, and
Mobile Devices
(27.4 MB)

Podcast (14.1 MB)


Download Study Guide (97.1 KB)

Download Slides (23.9 MB)

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Summary: Cover crops have remained a popular topic over the past few years, mainly due to the potential of the practice to suppress weeds. Still, one of the greatest benefits of cover crops in a humid environment is arguably the increase in infiltration and water holding capacity, both of which increase the rainfall/irrigation use efficiency of our crop. This presentation defines water use efficiency, explains seasonal trends in water use relative to rainfall, and highlights several research trials and on-farm observations which capture increased levels of infiltration and water holding capacity due to the incorporation of cover crops into the production system. By the end of this presentation, the practitioner will have a basic understanding of the water demands of a cotton crop and the potential impacts cover crops can have on the water resources available to the following cash crop.

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