Manure and Cover Crop Management
Practices on Dryland No-till Cotton
System in Mississippi
By Ardeshir Adeli, Ph.D.
Research Soil Scientist
Genetics and Sustainable Agriculture
Mississippi State, Mississippi
Phone: 662-320-7380 Ext. 236
Watch Presentation (22 min 44 sec)
for PC, Mac, and Mobile Devices (18.9 MB)
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Cotton is grown largely on alluvial floodplain soils in the Mississippi Delta region, but a significant amount of cotton is also grown under no-till systems on upland soils that are marginal in organic matter and vulnerable to erosion. In the subhumid southeastern United States, the rapid decomposition of initially low levels of cotton residue limits the benefits of no-till systems for improving soil health. Repeated broiler litter applications to no-till cotton with insufficient cotton residue exposes litter and its nutrients to risks of loss, reduces its effectiveness as a nutrient source, and may eventually lead to yield reduction. Integration of a cover crop with broiler litter into no-till dryland cotton increases plant residues on the soil surface and has the potential to maintain broiler litter-derived nutrients in place, enhance C sequestration, increase infiltration and water storage, improve soil health indicators, and increase cotton yield. This presentation provides a basis for farmers and producers to adopt cover crop management practices for maintaining fertilizer value of broiler litter and to reduce the use of purchased inorganic fertilizers, enabling them to maximize their net return while protecting the environment. In addition, the presentation provides a well-established guideline for broiler producers and greatly helps the NRCS, agricultural consultants, and others in developing plans for nutrient management.