Source: AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE submitted to
CONSERVATION PRODUCTION SYSTEMS FOR IMPROVED PROFITABILITY AND SOIL QUALITY
Sponsoring Institution
Agricultural Research Service/USDA
Project Status
TERMINATED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0404514
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
6420-12610-002-00D
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
May 2, 2001
Project End Date
May 1, 2006
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
RAPER R L
Recipient Organization
AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE
(N/A)
AUBURN,AL 36832
Performing Department
(N/A)
Non Technical Summary
(N/A)
Animal Health Component
60%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
40%
Applied
60%
Developmental
0%
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
1020120200020%
1020210107030%
2051510107010%
2051542107010%
2051710107020%
2051820107010%
Goals / Objectives
Develop improved soil management techniques to reduce risk from short-term drought; develop integrated weed control methods to reduce competition for water and nutrients by weeds in conservation systems; develop crop and soil management systems that integrate conservation tillage, intensive rotations, and site-specific agriculture management for increasing farm profits.
Project Methods
Coordinated plot and field-scale studies will be implemented to develop strategies for managing soils to reduce economic risks of short-term drought and increase farm profitability, improve soil quality, and enhance carbon storage. Problems include: (1) increasing crop rooting depth, (2) developing systems that synchronize crop water demands with increased probabilities of adequate soil water, (3) improving soil properties associated with infiltration and water retention, (4) developing decision aides for improved water management using soil survey databases, GIS/GPS, and remote sensing, (5) developing integrated weed management strategies through improved understanding of population changes in weed species associated with integrated cultural practices, (6) developing design principles for improved implements that facilitate management of high-residue and diverse conservation cropping systems, and (7) assess and predict economic viability of conservation practices.

Progress 05/02/01 to 05/01/06

Outputs
Progress Report 1. What major problem or issue is being resolved and how are you resolving it (summarize project aims and objectives)? How serious is the problem? Why does it matter? This research is associated primarily with National Program 202, Soil Resource Management, and National Program 207, Integrated Agricultural Systems. The number of acres and the percentage of total acres in the U. S. planted in conservation tillage have declined since 1998 according to the Conservation Tillage Information Center (C.T.I.C., 2002). Only 37% of all U.S. crop land is planted using technology which leaves at least 30% residue cover on the soil surface. The Southeast has a somewhat higher conservation tillage adoption rate of 42.5% which has increased substantially from only 25% in 2000. Much of this improvement can be attributed to research and technology transfer efforts being conducted in the region. Conservation tillage and development of intensive farming systems to maximize carbon storage on degraded soils in the Southeast can significantly contribute to mitigation of greenhouse gas effects, and thus help achieve the goals of the recent Kyoto Protocol. More importantly, National Soil Dynamics Laboratory (NSDL) research has already shown that soil-specific conservation systems can improve the profitability of Southeastern farms, mainly by increasing soil water storage and availability to crops during periods of short-term drought common in the region. The complexity of developing and managing economically viable, ecologically adapted, and environmentally sound production systems requires a multi-disciplinary field research approach. Research to solve the problem includes developing alternative crops and production systems; integrating system components and operative windows; developing practical systems and tools that reduce risks of production systems by using cover crops and high residue rotations; integrating residue management and other soil management practices to reduce soil compaction, increase plant available water, reducing risks and inputs for weed control in conservation systems, increasing use and diversity of crop rotations, improving nutrient use efficiencies of inorganic and organic nutrient sources, and developing rapid soil quality assessment tools for use in management decisions and evaluating the economics of their use. The research task is not complete until the information is effectively delivered to the customers and stakeholders. Especially critical is the lack of conservation tillage in cotton production. There is great variation among states in adoption of conservation tillage for cotton. Alabama is a leader, with over 60% of the crop in conservation tillage. However, in the Conservation Technology Information Center (C.T.I.C.) Southern Region, only 19% of the cotton (some 2.4 million acres) was grown using no-tillage or strip tillage in 2002. This is a major problem because more than 25% of this cotton is grown on highly erodible land, and most cotton land is degraded from loss of soil carbon and physical degradation. Even worse is that much of the cotton grown with no-tillage does not use a rotation system or cover crops to produce carbon inputs that exceed the carbon oxidation rate. Agronomically and environmentally sound conservation practices will not be adopted if not practical and economically viable. Thus, alternative conservation systems need to be developed that reduce economic risks for the producer, but are practical from the point of component integration and adoption. Farm profitability on degraded soils is marginal throughout the Southeast. The low productive potential of many of these soils, coupled with recent poor crop prices and severe droughts in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, and 2006 has placed many farmers in an untenable position. Cropping and soil management systems are needed that increase soil quality and productive potential of these soils while decreasing inputs and increasing net returns. 2. List by year the currently approved milestones (indicators of research progress) Subobjective 1: Increase soil carbon with resultant improvements in soil quality and productivity. Determining best management practices for enhancing soil quality and increasing soil carbon. 2001 - conduct field sampling and rainfall simulation studies at Tennessee Valley and Coastal Plain location 2002 - conduct laboratory analyses, data summary, and conduct infiltration measurements at Appalachian Plateau location 2003 - summarize data and develop recommendations and guidelines, including initial technology transfer and publication 2004 - conduct technology transfer 2005 - continue technology transfer to Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) consultants, and producers Using electrical conductivity measurements for field mapping and soil quality indicators. 2001 - conduct field sampling, obtain yield maps and electrical conductivity mapping 2002 - obtain yield maps and conduct electrical conductivity mapping, conduct laboratory analyses 2003 - analyze data and interpret information leading to initial summary publications 2004 - publish information for scientists, growers, and action agencies 2005 - develop information for producers to manage field scale variation of chemical and physical soil quality indicators in relation to inputs and returns Development of cover crops for conservation tillage systems. 2001 - conduct field testing of germplasm 2002 - continued field testing/screening, data analyses and identification of any promising lines 2003 - promising lines placed in tests as a cover crop for corn and cotton 2004 - conduct data analyses 2005 - develop recommendations and guidelines for use of Brassica cover crops in conservation systems Development of intensive farming systems with ultra-narrow row cotton. 2001 - conduct field testing and data collection 2002 - conduct field testing and data collection, begin data analyses 2003 - data analyses, summarize results 2004 - develop recommendations and guidelines for systems to increase soil C, improve soil quality and profitability 2005 - continue technology transfer, including multiple media, to NRCS consultants, and producers Reducing residue burial by tillage tools. 2001 - conduct depth experiment 2002 - conduct speed experiment 2003 - conduct implement experiment 2004 - transfer Technology to NRCS and American farmer Subobjective 2: Increase plant available water and reduce risks of short-term drought. Evaluate concept of site-specific subsoiling. 2001 - Initiate experiment to evaluate concept 2002 - Develop prototype site-specific tillage tool 2003 - Analyze data 2004 - Finalize experiment and transfer data to CRADA partner 2005 - Transfer technology to American farmer Reducing subsoiling frequency and energy requirements for hardpan disruption in conservation tillage systems. 2001 - Initiate Tennessee Valley experiment and collect data 2002 - Initiate Coastal Plains experiment and initiate basic shank experiments in soil bins to evaluate design and energy requirements 2003 - data analyses and summary for soil bin experiment, report results of shank design research to military and publish in scientific media 2004 - finalize Tennessee Valley Experiment 2005 - finalize Coastal Plains experiment and transfer technology Subobjective 3: Improve production profitability and reduce economic risks. Determination of tillage requirements for winter grazing 2001 - initiate field studies and data collection 2002 - continue data collection, laboratory analyses, and data summary 2003 - conduct laboratory analyses, data summary, and initiate technology transfer 2004 - Develop recommendations and guidelines and transfer technology 2005 - continue technology transfer, including multiple media, to NRCS consultants, and producers Develop improved mechanical roller to flatten/crimp cover crops 2001 - laboratory analyses and data summary 2002 - develop recommendations and guidelines and transfer technology 2003 - planning/design of roller with concentrated herbicide wick-wipe applicator 2004 - continue technology transfer, including multiple media, to NRCS consultants, and producers Develop methods of improving N management in conservation tillage systems 2001 - initiate field studies, data collection, laboratory analyses 2002 - data collection, laboratory analyses, initial data analysis and summary 2003 - data collection, laboratory analyses, data analysis and summary 2004 - publication media for scientists, growers, and action agencies 2005 - develop guidelines and information for producers to manage N more effectively in high residue conservation systems for cotton Development of improved soil and residue management systems for enhanced planter performance. 2001 - establish cover crop and determine furrow-closer settings and procedures, identify planter components, determine traffic for forming ruts 2002 - use planter components and collect data 2003 - use planter components and collect data 2004 - use planter components and collect data 2005 - technology transfer 4a List the single most significant research accomplishment during FY 2006. Reducing Vibration of Cover Crop Rollers while Terminating Cover Crops: Cover crops have been shown to provide beneficial results for crop production and environmental protection; however, they can interfere with proper cash crop establishment and growth. Rollers may provide a valuable alternative to chemicals for killing cover crops with the added incentive of providing a flat, unidirectional mat of residue cover. However, many producers have reported that when they used rollers, they found an excessive amount of vibration was transmitted back to the tractor. Alternative blade systems were tested and were found to have decreased vibration. This information can be used by producers and implement manufacturers to create a better implement that will enhance the use of conservation systems for row-crop production. A patent has been granted by the U.S. Patent Office on this new technology. Information regarding the inexpensive and efficient roller-crimper continues to be frequently requested by Cooperative Extension, NRCS, and producers, and continues to be featured in numerous popular press articles. 4b List other significant research accomplishment(s), if any. Site-specific in-row subsoiling saves fuel: Many soils in the United States suffer from excessive soil compaction and have to be annually tilled to eliminate these deep compacted layers. New spatial technologies may allow some fuel used for tillage to be saved while producing optimal yields. An experiment was performed for four years to compare site-specific subsoiling to uniform deep subsoiling on corn response and energy requirements for tillage. Prior to in-row subsoiling, the soils were mapped to determine the depth of the compacted layer and the site-specific subsoiling treatments supplied tillage to the correct depth without going too deep or too shallow. Results from these experiments showed that similar corn yields were produced with site- specific subsoiling while reducing fuel requirements by 24 or 43%. Use of this technology may offer growers the opportunity to reduce their inputs while maintaining excellent yields and protecting the environment. Irrigated Tillage Systems for the Tennessee Valley: Limited research has been conducted to examine relationships between tillage systems and irrigation on cotton yields and fiber quality. An experiment was established on a Decatur silt loam to examine how irrigation levels and tillage systems affect cotton yields and selected fiber properties. Conventional tillage with and without deep tillage was compared to conservation tillage, including a rye cover crop, with and without deep tillage across four irrigation levels (0, 2, 4, 6 gallons min-1). Conservation tillage increased lint yields 13% in 2003, while irrigation increased yields 46% and 32% over non-irrigated yields in 2002 and 2003, respectively. Small differences were detected between tillage systems among all fiber properties, primarily during the dry 2002 crop year, while irrigation levels affected length, micronaire, and uniformity. Deep tillage had no significant effect on any measured variable. Growers in the Tennessee Valley with access to irrigation can utilize a conservation system that includes a cover crop to improve cotton yields and positively influence fiber properties, while eliminating the need for expensive deep tillage operations. Nutrient Distributions across Management Systems and Landscape Positions: Soil nutrient concentrations vary with tillage system and landscape position, but limited information exists describing how these variables change across a field landscape. A 3 yr experiment was conducted to evaluate pH, P, K, Ca, Mg, and Zn concentrations at three depths (0-5 cm, 5-15 cm, and 15-30 cm) and three landscape positions (summit, sideslope, and drainageway) in a 9-ha field. The field contained four management systems consisting of a conventional (chisel plowing/disking in-row subsoiling with no cover crops) and conservation tillage system (in-row subsoiling with cover crops) with or without the addition of dairy bedding manure. Manure applications increased pH and nutrient concentrations in the soil surface (0-5 cm) of conventional and conservation tillage systems, with highest values measured in conservation tillage. Landscape position did influence soil pH, P, and K concentrations. The lowest soil pH and P concentrations were measured from the sideslope position, while K concentrations did not exhibit consistent distributions across landscape positions. Based on this preliminary research, farmers and consultants may need to utilize landscape position to guide future soil testing of Coastal Plain fields. Reducing energy requirements for compaction disruption: In-row subsoiling prior to planting has become a valuable conservation tillage practice for producers to combat soil compaction and leave large amounts of crop residue in place. Many different tillage shanks are available for producers to choose for in-row subsoiling. However, some are better at minimally disrupting the soil surface and leaving crop residue in place while others are better at disrupting the soil profile and removing soil compaction. This experiment was conducted to determine the best shanks for conservation tillage systems based on the following criteria: minimally disturbing soil on the soil surface, maximally disturbing the soil profile, and requiring minimal amounts of tillage energy. Two shanks from different manufacturers that are bent to one side were found to excel at all of these criteria. Producers who need to reduce soil compaction problems in their conservation tillage systems could use either of these shanks and receive the maximum benefits for the crop rooting systems while protecting the environment. Adoption of Conservation Practices Impacted By Economic Factors: The adoption of conservation practices, such as conservation tillage and the use of winter cover crops, can be influenced by different economic factors, such as cost-savings and incentive opportunities. Alabama farmers were surveyed to determine the socio-economic factors that impact the adoption, intensification and retention of conservation practices in the state. Results from the survey show that economic factors play a significant role in determining if a farmer will adopt conservation practices. These factors included the cost of equipment and the practice, as well as potential cost-share opportunities. Survey results were used to determine appropriate economic incentives for practices such as use of cover crops, soil testing and rotational grazing. Quickly and Successfully Transferring Technology to Producers: We have intensified our technology transfer efforts to enable our research efforts to be quickly adopted by our customers by participating and hosting field days in different climatic regions of the Southern United States. The expressed purpose of these field days is to showcase new technologies for management of high-residue cover crop systems. A Technology Transfer Specialist, provided by Auburn University under a Specific Cooperative Agreement, coordinates our technology transfer program by creating project plans of our important research discoveries, maintaining the Conservation Systems Research web page (http://www.ars. usda.gov/msa/auburn/nsdl), coordinating displays and representing the Conservation Systems Research Team at producer field days held in the Southeast, and in general by assisting the scientists to quickly transfer their scientific research results into forms accessible to our customers. Information displays are taken to producer conferences and meetings and information is distributed about our programs and results through media such as fact sheets and CD-ROMs. We also co-host a web site for the Southern Conservation Systems Conference (http://www.ag.auburn. edu/aux/nsdl/sctcsa/) which is a scientific organization dedicated to increasing the use of conservation agriculture in the Southern United States. 4c List significant activities that support special target populations. A Specific Cooperative Agreement with Tuskegee University was created to work with limited-resource vegetable growers selected from within the Black Belt or Prairie soil region of Alabama to: 1) develop vegetable cropping systems that increase soil organic carbon and improve efficiency of organic nitrogen applications; reduce soil compaction; and reduce nutrient and soil losses through runoff; 2) network with limited-resource farmers to improve their access to agronomic information; and 3) provide technical and analytical support for sustainable soil management to limited-resource vegetable producers. This project was implemented on two producers' farms and is in its fourth year. 5. Describe the major accomplishments to date and their predicted or actual impact. Increasing Adoption of Conservation Tillage Technology in the Southeastern United States This is the final annual report for project 6420-12610-002-00D. Conservation tillage adoption in the Southeast has typically lagged behind the rest of the United States. In the early 1990's conservation tillage adoption was an abysmal 26% in the U.S. and 21% in the South. Alabama and Georgia's adoption was even worse being 15% and 18%, respectively. The increased and focused research being conducted in Alabama and Georgia coupled with the increased focus on quick technology transfer has had immediate benefits. Results of these efforts are currently seen with the percent adoption of conservation tillage systems increasing rapidly in Alabama and Georgia with 48% and 34%, respectively, of the cropland being managed with conservation tillage systems (Conservation Technology Information Center, Purdue, IN) which outpaces the national and Southern adoption rates of 41% and 28%, respectively. These efforts have resulted in an increase of more than 300,000 acres in both states being farmed using conservation tillage systems since 2002. Currently, in both states, a total of almost 2,000,000 acres are being farmed using conservation tillage technologies. Using a conservative estimate of savings of $20/acre in fuel and labor with conservation tillage, producers in these two states have an additional $40,000,000 in annual profit from using these conservation practices. However, the environmental impacts from reduction of erosion, reduction in agricultural chemicals in run-off, and improved soil and water quality impacts benefit all citizens. Estimates of off-site benefits of conservation tillage are as high as $103/acre based on erosion rates in the Southeast. This translates to a tremendous value to taxpayers in off- site environmental benefits. As a result of our research and technology transfer efforts, the Conservation Systems Research Team was identified as a partner in "Team Conservation Tillage" that received a Merit Award presented from the Soil and Water Conservation Society in 2006. The Conservation Systems Research Team also received a Distinguished Service Award from the Alabama Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society in 2006. 6. What science and/or technologies have been transferred and to whom? When is the science and/or technology likely to become available to the end- user (industry, farmer, other scientists)? What are the constraints, if known, to the adoption and durability of the technology products? Research conducted in this project concluded that the depth of root- impeding soil compaction and tillage to the appropriate depth reduced soil strength in the rooting zone and increased cotton yields. Tillage deeper than necessary wasted draft energy and promoted future soil compaction; excessively shallow tillage did not eliminate soil compaction. As a result of this study, a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Deere and Company was created to investigate the concept of site-specific subsoiling. This CRADA was concluded in fall 2003. Research showed that site-specific subsoiling was a viable concept that reduced energy requirements while maintaining both corn and cotton yields. Producers and industry groups have been interested in the results of this study with several presentations and popular press articles resulting. The use of automatic steering systems for tractors has been a popular item that many producers have expressed interest in. The benefits of this technology for controlled traffic which limits soil compaction has prompted several producers to install these systems. Experiments are now being finalized which are evaluating the necessary accuracy for this technology that will enable users to continue to traffic row middles without compaction propagating under the rows. Several presentations and popular press articles have already resulted from this research. Many producers and industry representatives have expressed interest in publications relating to measurement and management of soil compaction. Publications relating to the development of our multiple-probe soil cone penetrometer system which is used to measure the depth and degree of soil compaction are frequently requested. A patent has been issued for a method of sensing on-the-go depth and compaction of hardpan layers in soils. This method has the distinct advantage of using a single force sensor to measure compaction at several depths and could easily be coupled with other technologies to measure other soil properties. This method should enable this time-consuming process of establishing the depth of soil compaction within a field to be conducted within a fraction of the time that is currently necessary. The use of this site-specific management system of measuring soil compaction could also facilitate the later application of site-specific subsoiling. Management of vehicle traffic and the use of cover crops for reducing the damaging effects of soil compaction are also frequently requested topics of presentations, popular press articles, and producer questions. Information on the conservation cropping system developed for cotton grown in the Tennessee Valley region continues to be widely transferred through field days, commodity tours, speaking engagements, and popular press articles. Many farmers in the Tennessee Valley region of North Alabama have used many of our research accomplishments from this project. Conservation tillage is now 'THE CONVENTIONAL' farming system in this region with farmers using conservation strategies including non-inversion fall tillage and cover crops. Information on management of high-residue producing conservation tillage systems and managing soil compaction in conservation tillage systems was transferred through field days, commodity tours, speaking engagements, and popular press articles. One of the more popular requests that received from producers is for information regarding roller-crimpers for cover crop management. Research has been underway at the laboratory to develop more efficient methods of rolling/crimping cover crops that would be done at comparable speeds to herbicide spraying. Two patent applications have been submitted to the U.S. Patent Office for improved versions of cover crop roller-crimpers that significantly reduced vibration currently exhibited by cover crop rollers. This reduction in vibration assists in allowing producers to increase their field speed to speeds similar to their replaced spraying operations. Field tests were conducted and results showed improvements over current models. Our rollers have been displayed this year at technology transfer events in Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia, Georgia, and South Carolina. Techniques to effectively manage soil compaction have become one of the most requested pieces of technologies from the laboratory. Soil compaction is responsible for reducing rooting, infiltration, water storage, aeration, drainage, and crop growth and plagues producers all over the world. However, the problem is especially distressing in the Southeastern United States where a naturally occurring soil compaction problem is amplified by vehicle traffic. A review paper (that is frequently requested by customers) was assembled as part of the ASABE Distinguished Lecture for 2006 that included the primary causes of soil compaction, methods to alleviate soil compaction, and suggestions to prevent soils from becoming compacted. 7. List your most important publications in the popular press and presentations to organizations and articles written about your work. (NOTE: List your peer reviewed publications below). Popular publications Raper, R.L. and P.A. Simionescu. Smooth rolling cover crop roller. U.S. Patent #6968907. Nov. 29, 2005. "Alabama cotton field day set Aug.4", Southeast Farm Press, July 18th, 2005. "Equipment Forum: Rolling rye may help conservation-tillage cotton emergence, yield", Southeast Farm Press, Aug. 19, 2005. Anonymous. Optimum row distance from subsoiled zone. Indiana Agri-News. Sept. 2005 Pam Golden. Farm ugly, gain pretty. Southern Farmer, Sept. 2005. John Leidner. Sweet Home Alabama. AgWeb, Dec. 2005. Cindy Zimmerman. Conservation Tillage Leader, Southeast AgNet. March 17, 2006. Cindy Zimmerman. Making Conservation Tillage Convention, Southeast AgNet. March 22, 2006. Presentations Conservation Systems Research. East Alabama Cotton Tour, Shorter, AL. Aug. 2005. Economics of conservation systems. East Alabama Cotton Tour, Shorter, AL. Aug. 2005. Discussed narrow and wide strip tillage peanut production at the Extension Field Crops Day. Jay, FL. Aug. 2005. Presented information to growers about twin row corn production and conservation systems. Southwest Alabama Crops Tour. Fairhope, AL. Aug. 2005. Managing compaction with in-row subsoiling. Wiregrass Research and Extension Center Field Day, Headland, AL. Aug. 2005. Benefits of conservation systems. East Alabama Cotton Tour, Shorter, AL. Aug. 2005. N contribution of peanut residue. Field Crops Day at the Wiregrass Research and Extension Center. Headland, AL. Aug., 2005. Research program of the Conservation Tillage Systems Research Team in Auburn, AL. Sunbelt Expo. Moultrie, GA. Oct., 2005. Conservation tillage systems for Coastal Plains soils. Auburn University Agronomy class, Shorter, AL. Nov. 2005. Management of soil compaction. German producer delegation, Headland, AL. Nov. 2005. Conservation tillage peanut production. German producer delegation. Headland, AL. Nov. 2005. Conservation systems research review. USDA-ARS Systems Conference, Shorter, AL. Nov. 2005. Economics of conservation tillage systems. USDA-ARS Systems Conference, Shorter, AL. Nov. 2005. Conservation systems research for production agriculture. Auburn High School Ecology class, Auburn, AL. Nov. 2005. Management of conservation systems. Southern States Advanced Crop and Soil Training, Tifton, GA. Dec. 2005. Tillage System Effects on Soil Water Run-off, Erosion, Soil Moisture, and Soil Organic Matter. Southern States Advanced Crop and Soil Training, Tifton, GA. Dec. 2005. Management of conservation systems. Alabama Certified Crop Advisors. Auburn, AL. Dec. 2005. Management of soil compaction for conservation agriculture. Alabama Certified Crop Advisors Training, Auburn, AL. Dec. 2005 Conservation systems for conserving natural resources. USDA-NRCS new employee orientation and training, Auburn, AL. Dec. 2005. Management of soil compaction for conservation agriculture. Georgia Extension Training, Tifton, GA. Dec. 2005. An economic decision aide for comparing conservation and conventional tillage methods. 2006 Beltwide Cotton Conference, San Antonio, TX, Jan. 2006. Residue Management of Cover Crops. Certified Crop Advisor/CEU Agronomic Seminar, Auburn, AL. Jan., 2006. Auto Steering and Guidance Technology down on the farm. Certified Crop Advisor /CEU Agronomic Seminar, Auburn, AL. Jan., 2006 New endeavors in conservation agriculture. Legislative aid visit, Auburn, AL. Feb. 2006. Management of soil compaction in conservation agriculture. Alabama Conservation Tillage Workshop. Andalusia, AL. Feb. 2006. Economics of Conservation Tillage. Alabama Conservation Tillage Workshop. Andalusia, AL. Feb. 2006. Conservation systems for cotton and corn in Central Alabama. Conservation Systems Cotton and Rice Conference. Tunica, MS, Feb. 2006. Conservation tillage systems. Georgia Extension Training, Tifton, GA. Feb. 2006. Management of conservation systems. Alabama Conservation Tillage Workshop. Andalusia, AL. Feb. 2006. Managing cover crops using rollers-crimpers. Alabama Conservation Tillage Workshop. Andalusia, AL. Feb. 2006. Conservation systems research for production agriculture. Auburn High School Ecology class, Auburn, AL. Mar. 2006. Cover crop rolling technology. Advanced No-Till Seminar and Farm Tour. Dayton, VA, Mar. 2006. Other Scientific Publications Reddy, K.C. , Nyakatawa, E.Z., Jakkula, V., Roberson, T. and Kamireddi, A. R. 2005. Agricultural practices to reduce non-point source pollution. A keynote lecture. Proc. International Conference on Environmental Management-Pollution and Control Technologies, Hyderabad, India; October 28-30, 2005. BS Publications. lvi-lxiiipp. Mankolo, R.N., Reddy, K.C., Senwo, Z.N., Nyakatawa, E.Z. 2006. Effects of cotton production on soil enzymes' activities. 1890 Land-Grant Universities Association of Research Directors, 14th Biennial Research Symposium, Atlanta, Georgia, April 1-5, 2006.

Impacts
(N/A)

Publications

  • Terra, J.A., Reeves, D.W., Shaw, J.N., Raper, R.L. 2005. Impacts of landscape attributes on c sequestration during the transition from conventional to conservation management practices on a coastal plain field. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation Society. 60(6):437-446.
  • Terra, J.A., Shaw, J.N., Reeves, D.W., Raper, R.L., Van Santen, E., Schwab, E.B., Mask, P.L. 2005. Soil management and landscape variability affects field-scale cotton productivity. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 70:98-107.
  • Grift, T.E., Tekeste, M.Z., Raper, R.L. 2005. Acoustic compaction layer detection. Transactions of the ASAE. 48(5):1-8.
  • Raper, R.L., Reeves, D.W., Shaw, J.N., Van Santen, E., Mask, P. 2006. Using site-specific subsoiling to minimize draft and optimize corn yields. Transactions of the ASAE. 48(6):2047-2052.
  • Veal, M.W., Taylor, S.E., Rummer, R.B., Raper, R.L. 2005. Plow power requirements for forestry site preparation. International Journal of Forest Engineering. 16(2):129-136.
  • Balkcom, K.S., Terra, J.A., Shaw, J.N., Reeves, D.W., Raper, R.L. 2005. Soil management system and landscape position interactions on nutrient distribution in a coastal plain field. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 60(6):431-437.
  • Balkcom, K.S., Reeves, D.W., Shaw, J.N., Burmester, C.H., Curtis, L.M. 2006. Cotton yield and fiber quality from irrigated tillage systems in the tennessee valley. Agronomy Journal. 98:596-602.
  • Raper, R.L., Schwab, E.B., Bergtold, J.S. 2006. Reducing recompaction with automatic steering. In: Proceedings of the Beltwide Cotton Conference, January 4-6, 2006, San Antonio, Texas. p. 2488-2491.
  • Saini, M., Price, A.J., Van Santen, E. 2005. Winter weed suppression by winter cover crops in a conservation-tillage corn and cotton rotation. In:Proceedins of the Southern Conservation Tillage Systems Conference, June 27-29, 5005, Florence, South Carolina. p. 124-128.
  • Fulton, J., Raper, R.L., Mcdonald, T., Tyson, T. 2006. Fuel conservation strategies for the farm. Alabama Cooperative Extension System Timely Information Sheets BSEN-06-02, April 2006.
  • Balkcom, K.S., Price, A.J., Arriaga, F.J., Delaney, D.P. 2006. Cotton systems research: evaluating herbicide technologies, tillage systems, and row spacings. In: Lawrence, K. s., Monks, C.D., Delaney, D. P., editors. 2005 Cotton Research Report, Alabama Agricultral Experiment, Research Report No. 28.
  • Mitchell, C.C., Delaney, D.P., Balkcom, K.S. 2005. The old rotation, 2005. In: Lawrence, K. s., Monks, C.D., Delaney, D. P., editors. 2005 Cotton Research Report, Alabama Agricultral Experiment, Research Report No. 28.
  • Mitchell, C.C., Delaney, D.P., Balkcom, K.S. 2005. 2005 yields on the cullars rotation (circa 1911). In: Lawrence, K. s., Monks, C.D., Delaney, D. P., editors. 2005 Cotton Research Report, Alabama Agricultral Experiment, Research Report No. 28.
  • Arriaga, F.J., Balkcom, K.S., Raper, R.L. 2005. Conservation systems for cotton production. [abstract] Agronomy Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America Meeting. 2005 CDROM.
  • Balkcom, K.S., Arriaga, F.J. 2005. Conservation tillage systems for peanut production[abstract]. American Society of Agronomy Meetings. CDROM
  • Meso, B., Balkcom, K.S., Wood, C.W., Adams, J.F. 2005. Nitrogen contribution of peanut residues in a cotton conservation system [abstract]. American Society of Agronomy Meetings. 2005 CDROM.
  • Mitchell, C.C., Delaney, D.P., Balkcom, K.S. 2004. Alabama's "cullars rotation" experiment (c. 1911) on national register of historical places [abstract]. American Society of Agronomy Meetings. CDROM
  • Bergtold, J.S., Terra, J.A., Reeves, D.W., Shaw, J.N., Balkcom, K.S., Raper, R.L. 2005. Spatial variability in net returns for conservation tillage systems with alternative mixtures of high residue cover crops [abstract]. American Society of Agronomy Abstracts.


Progress 10/01/04 to 09/30/05

Outputs
1. What major problem or issue is being resolved and how are you resolving it (summarize project aims and objectives)? How serious is the problem? What does it matter? The number of acres and the percentage of total acres in the U.S. planted in conservation tillage have declined since 1998 according to the Conservation Tillage Information Center (C.T.I.C., 2002). Only 37% of all U.S. crop land is planted using technology which leaves at least 30% residue cover on the soil surface. The Southeast has a somewhat higher conservation tillage adoption rate of 42.5% which has increased substantially from only 25% in 2000. Much of this improvement can be attributed to research and technology transfer efforts being conducted in the region. Conservation tillage and development of intensive farming systems to maximize carbon storage on degraded soils in the Southeast can significantly contribute to mitigation of greenhouse gas effects, and thus help achieve the goals of the recent Kyoto Protocol. More importantly, National Soil Dynamics Laboratory (NSDL) research has already shown that soil-specific conservation systems can improve the profitability of Southeastern farms, mainly by increasing soil water storage and availability to crops during periods of short-term drought common in the region. The complexity of developing and managing economically viable, ecologically adapted, and environmentally sound production systems requires a multi-disciplinary field research approach. Research to solve the problem includes developing alternative crops and production systems; integrating system components and operative windows; developing practical systems and tools that reduce risks of production systems by using cover crops and high residue rotations; integrating residue management and other soil management practices to reduce soil compaction, increase plant available water, reducing risks and inputs for weed control in conservation systems, increasing use and diversity of crop rotations, improving nutrient use efficiencies of inorganic and organic nutrient sources, and developing rapid soil quality assessment tools for use in management decisions and evaluating the economics of their use. The research task is not complete until the information is effectively delivered to the customers and stakeholders. Especially critical is the lack of conservation tillage in cotton production. There is great variation among states in adoption of conservation tillage for cotton. Alabama is a leader, with over 60% of the crop in conservation tillage. However, in the Conservation Technology Information Center (C.T.I.C.) Southern Region, only 19 % of the cotton (some 2.4 million acres) was grown using no-tillage or strip tillage in 2002. This is a major problem because more than 25% of this cotton is grown on highly erodible land, and most cotton land is degraded from loss of soil carbon and physical degradation. Even worse is that much of the cotton grown with no-tillage does not use a rotation system or cover crop to produce carbon inputs that exceed the carbon oxidation rate. Agronomically and environmentally sound conservation practices will not be adopted if not practical and economically viable. Thus, alternative conservation systems need to be developed that reduce economic risks for the producer but are practical from the point of component integration and adoption. Farm profitability on degraded soils is marginal throughout the Southeast. The low productive potential of many of these soils, coupled with recent poor crop prices and severe droughts in 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2002 has placed many farmers in an untenable position. Cropping and soil management systems are needed that increase soil quality and productive potential of these soils while decreasing inputs and increasing net returns. 2. List the milestones (indicators of progress) from your Project Plan. Subobjective 1: Increase soil carbon with resultant improvements in soil quality and productivity. Determine best management practices for enhancing soil quality and increasing soil carbon. 2001 - conduct field sampling and rainfall simulation studies at TN Valley and Coastal Plain location 2002 - conduct laboratory analyses, data summary, and conduct infiltration measurements at Appalachian Plateau location 2003 - summarize data and develop recommendations and guidelines, including initial technology transfer and publication 2004 - conduct technology transfer 2005 - continue technology transfer to Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) consultants, and producers Using electrical conductivity measurements for field mapping and soil quality indicators. 2001 - conduct field sampling, obtain yield maps; and obtain electrical conductivity mapping 2002 - obtain yield maps and conduct electrical conductivity mapping, conduct laboratory analyses 2003 - analyze data and interpret information leading to initial summary publications 2004 - publish information for scientists, growers, and action agencies 2005 - develop information for producers to manage field scale variation of chemical and physical soil quality indicators in relation to inputs and returns Development of cover crops for conservation tillage systems. 2001 - conduct field testing of germplasm 2002 - continue field testing/screening, data analyses, and identification of any promising lines 2003 - promising lines placed in tests as a cover crop for corn and cotton 2004 - conduct data analyses 2005 - develop recommendations and guidelines for use of Brassica cover crops in conservation systems Development of intensive farming systems with ultra-narrow row cotton. 2001 - conduct field testing and data collection 2002 - conduct field testing and data collection; begin data analyses 2003 - data analyses; summarize results 2004 - develop recommendations and guidelines for systems to increase soil C, and improve soil quality and profitability 2005 - continue technology transfer, including multiple media, to NRCS consultants, and producers Reducing residue burial by tillage tools. 2001 - conduct depth experiment 2002 - conduct speed experiment 2003 - conduct implement experiment 2004 - transfer Technology to NRCS and American farmer Subobjective 2: Increase plant available water and reduce risks of short-term drought. Evaluate concept of site-specific subsoiling. 2001 - Initiate experiment to evaluate concept 2002 - Develop prototype site-specific tillage tool 2003 - Analyze data 2004 - Finalize experiment and transfer data to CRADA partner 2005 - Transfer technology to American farmer Reducing subsoiling frequency and energy requirements for hardpan disruption in conservation tillage systems. 2001 - Initiate Tennessee Valley experiment and collect data 2002 - Initiate Coastal Plains experiment and initiate basic shank experiments in soil bins to evaluate design and energy requirements 2003 - data analyses and summary for soil bin experiment; report results of shank design research to military; and publish in scientific media 2004 - finalize Tennessee Valley Experiment 2005 - finalize Coastal Plains experiment and transfer technology Subobjective 3: Improve production profitability and reduce economic risks. Determination of tillage requirements for winter grazing. 2001 - initiate field studies and data collection 2002 - continue data collection, laboratory analyses, and data summary 2003 - conduct laboratory analyses, data summary, and initiate technology transfer 2004 - Develop recommendations and guidelines and transfer technology 2005 - continue technology transfer, including multiple media, to NRCS consultants, and producers Develop improved mechanical roller to flatten/crimp cover crops. 2001 - laboratory analyses and data summary 2002 - develop recommendations and guidelines and transfer technology 2003 - planning/design of roller with concentrated herbicide wick-wipe applicator 2004 - continue technology transfer, including multiple media, to NRCS consultants, and producers Develop methods of improving N management in conservation tillage systems. 2001 - initiate field studies, data collection, laboratory analyses 2002 - data collection, laboratory analyses, initial data analysis and summary 2003 - data collection, laboratory analyses, data analysis and summary 2004 - publication media for scientists, growers, and action agencies 2005 - develop guidelines and information for producers to manage N more effectively in high residue conservation systems for cotton Development of improved soil and residue management systems for enhanced planter performance. 2001 - establish cover crop and determine furrow-closer settings and procedures, identify planter components, determine traffic for forming ruts 2002 - use planter components and collect data 2003 - use planter components and collect data 2004 - use planter components and collect data 2005 - technology transfer 3a List the milestones that were scheduled to be addressed in FY 2005. For each milestone, indicate the status: fully met, substantially met, or not met. If not met, why. 1. Determining best management practices for enhancing soil quality and increasing soil carbon - continue technology transfer to NRCS consultants, and produceers. Milestone Fully Met 2. Using electrical conductivity measurements for field mapping and soil quality indicators - 2005 - develop information for producers to manage field scale variation of chemical and phyical soil quality indicators in relation to inputs and returns. Milestone Substantially Met 3. Development of cover crops for conservation tillage systems - develop recommendations and guidelines for use of Brassica cover crops in conservation systems. Milestone Not Met Progress slowed by resource limitation (human,fiscal,equipment, etc. 4. Development of intensive farming systems with ultra-narrow row cotton - continue technology transfer, including multiple media, to NRCS consultants, and producers. Milestone Substantially Met 5. Evaluate concept of site-specificsubsoiing - transfer technology to American farmer. Milestone Fully Met 6. Reducing subsoiling frequency and energy requirements for hardpan disruption in conservation tillage systems - finalize Coastal Plains experiment and transfer technology. Milestone Not Met Other 7. Determination of tillage requirements for winter grazing - continue technology transfer, including multiple media, to NRCS consultants, and producters. Milestone Fully Met 8. Develop methods of improving N management in conservation tillage systems - develop guidelines and information for producers to manage N more effectively in high residue conservation systems for cotton. Milestone Substantially Met 9. Development of improved soil and residue management systems for enhanced planter performance - technology transfer. Milestone Not Met Other 3b List the milestones that you expect to address over the next 3 years (FY 2006, 2007, and 2008). What do you expect to accomplish, year by year, over the next 3 years under each milestone? This research project, 6420-12610-002-00D, Conservation Systems for Improved Profitability and Soil Quality, was formed in FY 2001 as a result of a Customer Focus Group Input Meeting held February 4, 1999. Specifically the goals of the research project are: (1) increase adoption of conservation systems, especially in the Southeast; (2) improve profitability and reduce economic risks of existing farming systems by enhancing carbon storage, increase plant available soil water and soil productivity and quality; and (3) develop new production systems that are more profitable, less risky, and improve soil quality and productivity. Additional research funds acquired over the last 4 years have allowed 4 additional SYs to be added to this project which now includes two agricultural engineers, a weed scientist, a soil scientist, a research agronomist, and an agricultural economist. Numerous new projects have been started in the last two years under the three original subobjectives of the project plan. Subobjective 1: Increase soil carbon with resultant improvements in soil quality and productivity. 2006 Conduct research to develop recommendations and guidelines for use of Brassica, legume, and cereal cover crops in conservation systems. Conduct research to develop winter cover crop recommendations to suppress weed emergence. Conduct research to develop winter cover crop recommendations for suppressing glyphosate resistant horseweed. Conduct experiment to develop information for predicting weed seed emergence and weed competitiveness in standard row and twin row corn and cotton. Conduct research to eliminate hardpans, increase organic matter levels and increase the adoption of high residue cover crops for central Alabama corn and cotton production. Finalize research to compare standard 40 cotton to 15 cotton across conventional and conservation tillage systems and conventional and transgenic cotton varieties. Summarize and communicate to growers optimal plant populations and row spacing for conservation tillage corn production in Alabama. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate technology transfer documents. Summarize weed seed emergence under various cover cropping systems research and present results to producer groups and crop protection industry. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate technology transfer documents. Summarize and communicate to growers the effect peanut residues have on nitrogen requirements of cotton in conservation tillage systems. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate technology transfer documents. Summarize research on crop rotations that include cover crops as a way to reduce the effects of short-term droughts on crop production. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize and communicate research that compares dryland N requirements for conventional and long-term conservation tillage corn production. Finalize research to compare narrow and wide strip tillage production for peanut. Summarize research on irrigation and tillage interactions for cotton on silt loam soils of the Tennessee Valley. 2007 Conduct research to develop winter cover crop recommendations to suppress weed emergence. Continue developing research on improving soil hydraulic properties with soil conservation management techniques to improve the tolerance of crops to drought stress. Summarize data/information and transfer findings through presentations, participation field days, technology transfer documents and other means. Summarize research and communicate to growers conservation tillage practices for central Alabama cotton and corn production that will improve organic matter levels and alleviate shallow hardpans. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate technology transfer documents. Summarize and communicate research that compares standard 40 cotton to 15 cotton across conventional and conservation tillage systems and conventional and transgenic cotton varieties. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate technology transfer documents. Summarize research and develop guidelines for using Brassica, legume and cereal cover crops in conservation systems Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate technology transfer documents. Summarize information for predicting weed seed emergence and weed competitiveness in standard row and twin row cotton. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate technology transfer documents. Conduct research to develop winter cover crop recommendations for suppressing glyphosate resistant horseweed. Finalize research to compare dryland N requirements for conventional and long-term conservation tillage corn production. Summarize information for predicting weed seed emergence and weed competiveness in standard row and twin row corn. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate technology transfer documents. Summarize and communicate research that compares narrow and wide strip tillage production for peanut. 2008 Summarize and communicate research that compares standard 40 cotton to 15 cotton across conventional and conservation tillage systems and conventional and transgenic cotton varieties. Summarize research, communicate to growers conservation tillage practices for central Alabama cotton and corn production that will improve organic matter levels and alleviate shallow hardpans. Summarize and communicate research that compares dryland N requirements for conventional and long-term conservation tillage corn production. Conduct research to develop winter cover crop recommendations to suppress weed emergence. Summarize information for winter cover crops that suppress weed emergence. Summarize winter cover crop recommendations for suppressing glyphosate resistant horseweed. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate technology transfer documents. Subobjective 2: Increase plant available water and reduce risks of short-term drought. 2006 Conduct field research to determine optimum shape for bentleg shanks that maximum soil disruption while minimally disturbing the soil surface. Conduct field research to determine effect of subsoiler attachments. Test and evaluate field implement to sense soil compaction on-the-go. Conduct research to determine benefits of automatic steering systems for improving peanut harvesting efficiency. Conduct research designed to determine proximity of vehicle traffic to subsoiled zones rows without detrimentally compacting them. Summarize research on frequency of tillage needed to eradicate compacted soil layers in a Coastal Plains soil. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate technology transfer documents. 2007 Conduct field research to determine optimum shape for bentleg shanks that maximum soil disruption while minimally disturbing the soil surface. Conduct field research to determine effect of subsoiler attachments. Summarize research to determine benefits of automatic steering systems for improving peanut harvesting efficiency. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate technology transfer documents. Summarize research designed to determine proximity of vehicle traffic to subsoiled zones rows without detrimentally compacting them. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate technology transfer documents. 2008 Finalize research that investigates roller-crimper direction and various row-cleaning attachments for cotton establishment. Finalize research for improving rollers for an alternative cover crop kill method. Summarize and communicate research on impact of different shank types and different cover crops on tomato yield, soil strength, nutrient uptake, soil moisture and temperature. Subobjective 3: Improve production profitability and reduce economic risks. 2006 Conduct research to obtain optimized roller design for termination of cover crops in row crop production systems. Conduct research to design rollers for cover crop termination in bedded vegetable systems. Conduct field experiment to analyze various planter attachments operating in heavy residue lying in various directions. Conduct research to examine economically feasible and statistically consistent techniques for determining farm management zones on a field scale. Develop guidelines and information concerning the implementation of the Conservation Security Program in the southeastern United States. 2007 Develop procedures and decision aides for farmers to determine economically viable within field management zones. Summarize research to obtain optimized roller design for termination of cover crops in row crop production systems. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate technology transfer documents. Summarize research to design rollers for cover crop termination in bedded vegetable systems. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate technology transfer documents. Summarize field experiment to analyze various planter attachments operating in heavy residue lying in various directions. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate technology transfer documents. 2008 Finalize research examining the economic risks of adopting conservation tillage and site-specific farming practices. Develop an interactive web-based decision support system for conservation tillage systems in the southeast accessible to farmers, researchers and policymakers. Summarize and communicate research to examine the effect of conservation tillage systems on cotton lint using cotton gin data. Disseminate an economic decision aide to assess the economic impact of alternative conservation systems on-farm. 4a What was the single most significant accomplishment this past year? Site-specific subsoiling saves fuel and doesnt reduce cotton yield. Soil compaction restricts plant growth and varies widely within Southern fields. Soil compaction can also be costly to treat, as subsoiling requires large amounts of horsepower and fuel. A study was conducted in conjunction with Deere and Co. under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to evaluate the concept of site-specific subsoiling as a cost-effective method of optimizing cotton yields while conserving energy. The results of the experiment found that cotton yields were not decreased by site-specific subsoiling and (depending upon the amount of variation present within the field) fuel savings could be as much as 59%. Further development of this technology and other technologies that would enable quick measures of soil compaction to be obtained, could enable producers to only till their soils where soil compaction was problematic rather than over the entire field. 4b List other significant accomplishments, if any. Enhanced Funding Provides for Additional Research Thrusts in Conservation Systems Research: Many producers need additional scientific information before they are willing to adopt conservation tillage systems which conserve natural resources and maximize use of available soil water. New research funding targeted toward developing conservation systems for degraded soil resource areas was allocated to the Conservation Systems Research project at the USDA-ARS National Soil Dynamics Laboratory which has allowed five scientific vacancies to be created and filled during the past two years. The multidisciplinary research team assembled in the Conservation Systems Research project now includes two agricultural engineers, a weed scientist, a research agronomist, a soil scientist, and an agricultural economist. Research accomplishments of this team should enable producers who farm severely degraded Southeastern soils to have the capability of selecting conservation tillage practices which conserve soil, water, and energy resources while maintaining or improving crop yields. Simple soil sensors measure soil compaction quickly and easily: Extremely heavy agricultural vehicles excessively compact soil and hinder crop growth. However, the ability to determine when a vehicle is too heavy is difficult due to transducers which are difficult to use and require significant instrumentation. An experiment was conducted that compared the ability of a simple rubber pressure bulb to measure differences in soil compaction with a more complicated electronic transducer. The transducers performed similarly, but the rubber pressure bulb had greater sensitivity and could distinguish between the loads applied to greater depths than the electronic transducer. Continued testing and development of the rubber pressure bulbs could lead to improvements in soil compaction management by allowing producers to know when their vehicle loads are excessive and could cause significant soil damage. Inrow subsoiling removes soil compaction caused by vehicle traffic: As many producers move into conservation tillage systems with reduced surface tillage and the capability of reducing their vehicle traffic, many wonder about their need to continue to conduct deep tillage in Coastal Plains soils. An experiment was conducted to determine the effects of vehicle traffic, surface tillage, and deep tillage on soil properties. Results showed that the negative compactive effects of vehicle traffic beside the row was mitigated by the practice of annual in- row subsoiling. Producers with this soil type who want to enhance their soil condition for optimum productivity should develop a conservation management system that limits random vehicle traffic and uses annual in- row subsoiling. Bentleg shanks minimally disturb the soil surface while adequately disrupting compacted soils: Selecting the best implement for eliminating compacted soil layers and producing optimum crop yields is mostly driven by implement cost. However, implements for deep tillage vary in their ability to maintain crop residues on the soil surface which is extremely important for conservation tillage systems. A field experiment was conducted which compared several deep tillage implements which are commonly used for soil compaction disruption. Results from this experiment showed that bentleg shanks maintained the highest amount of crop residue on the soil surface while not requiring additional force to disrupt compacted soil profiles. Producers who must conduct deep tillage to manage soil compaction can use these bentleg shanks with confidence that they are able to maintain maximum amounts of crop residue on the soil surface. Annual subsoiling loosens compacted soil profiles: As farmers adopt conservation tillage systems, they have fewer opportunities to eliminate compacted soil layers which can reduce crop yields. Currently, most producers conduct annual deep tillage to allow crop roots to grow uninhibited into the soil profile and obtain valuable soil moisture. An experiment was conducted to determine if soils managed with conservation systems required annual deep tillage, or if this deep tillage event could be postponed to every two or three years. No difference in cotton yield was found between any of the tillage frequencies nor were there any differences found between several shanks tested. An improved soil condition did result from the use of annual tillage that could result in improved crop yields during years of drought stress. Producers in the Southeastern U.S. who want to reduce their risk may want to continue to conduct annual deep tillage to reduce the ill effects of soil compaction. Reducing Vibration of Cover Crop Rollers while Terminating Cover Crops: Cover crops have been shown to provide beneficial results for crop production and environmental protection; however, they can interfere with proper cash crop establishment and growth. Rollers may provide a valuable alternative to chemicals for killing cover crops with the added incentive of providing a flat, unidirectional mat of residue cover. However, many producers have reported that when they used rollers, they found an excessive amount of vibration was transmitted back to the tractor. Alternative blade systems were tested and were found to have decreased vibration. This information can be used by producers and implement manufacturers to create a better implement that will enhance the use of conservation systems for row-crop production. One patent application has been filed with the U.S. Patent Office on this new technology with another one currently in development. Information regarding the inexpensive and efficient roller-crimper continues to be frequently requested by Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, NRCS, and producers, and continues to be featured in numerous popular press articles. Quickly and Successfully Transferring Technology to Producers: We have intensified our technology transfer efforts to enable our research efforts to be quickly adopted by our customers by hosting two field days in different climatic regions of Alabama. The expressed purpose of these field days is to showcase new technologies for management of high-residue cover crop systems. A Technology Transfer Specialist, which is supplied to the parent research project by Auburn University under a Specific Cooperative Agreement, coordinates our technology transfer program by creating project plans of our important research discoveries, maintaining the Conservation Systems Research web page (http://www.ars.usda.gov/msa/auburn/nsdl), coordinating displays and representing the Conservation Systems Research project at producer field days held in the Southeast, and in general by assisting the scientists to quickly transfer their scientific research results into forms accessible to our customers. Information displays are taken to producer conferences and meetings and information is distributed about our programs and results through media such as fact sheets and CD-ROMs. We co-host a web site for the Southern Conservation Systems Conference (http://www.ag. auburn.edu/aux/nsdl/sctcsa/). A Tropical Summer Legume Utilized as a Winter Cover Crop: The benefits of winter legumes (plants capable of producing nitrogen) as cover crops for corn are reduced by the earliness of corn planting which limits typical winter legume growth and nitrogen production. Tropical legumes may offer an alternative to winter legumes because they grow quickly prior to corn planting. 'Tropic Sunn' sunn hemp was compared to fallow plots for corn over a three year period. Nitrogen rates (0, 56, 112, and 168 kg N ha-1) were applied three week after planting corn to all plots. Sunn hemp plants grew quickly, averaging 7.6 Mg ha-1 (3.4 tons ac-1) biomass, 98 days after planting for the first two years of the study. Corn grain yields following sunn hemp averaged 6.7 Mg ha-1 (107 bu ac-1) while yields following no cover crop averaged 5.6 Mg ha-1 (89 bu ac- 1). Sunn hemp shows potential to be used as an alternative to winter legumes in the Southeast because it provides a large amount of ground cover and N, which can benefit a subsequent corn crop. Composition and Decomposition of Peanut Residues: Legumes typically decompose rapidly and can contribute nitrogen (N) to crops planted after residues decompose. Peanut is a legume, but limited information exists on how much N peanut residue can provide a crop. The objective of this study was to determine how much N is released from peanut residue. Two types of peanut residue were collected. Aboveground peanut residue was collected before peanut harvest and residue spread on the ground after peanut harvest was also collected. Residue was analyzed to determine the carbon (C) and N content and then mixed with two different soils. Each mixture of soil and residue was kept in the laboratory at a constant temperature and incubated for 98 days. These data indicate that peanut residue will not supply significant amounts of N for a subsequent crop grown in these two soils. 4c List any significant activities that support special target populations. A Specific Cooperative Agreement with Tuskegee University was created to work with limited-resource vegetable growers selected from within the Black Belt or Prairie soil region of Alabama to: 1) develop vegetable cropping systems that increase soil organic carbon and improve efficiency of organic nitrogen applications; reduce soil compaction; and reduce nutrient and soil losses through runoff; 2) network with limited-resource farmers to improve their access to agronomic information; and 3) provide technical and analytical support for sustainable soil management to limited-resource vegetable producers. This project was implemented on two producers' farms and is in its third year. 5. Describe the major accomplishments over the life of the project, including their predicted or actual impact. Increasing Adoption of Conservation Tillage Technology in the Tennessee Valley Region: This is the fifth annual report for research project 6420-12610-002-00D. One of the most significant accomplishments of this project and its predecessors is the development of a conservation cropping system for the Tennessee Valley region that included practices of non-inversion fall tillage to alleviate problems of soil compaction and a rye cover crop to reduce soil compaction, reduce weed pressure, and conserve soil moisture during periods of drought stress. Soil erosion from continuous cotton cropping and governmental regulations forced many cotton producers in the Tennessee River Valley of Northern Alabama to try no-tillage in the early 1990's, but yield reductions prevented widespread adoption of this beneficial system. We, partnering with Auburn University and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station (AAES), Alabama Cooperative Extension Service (ACES) and USDA-NRCS, have rapidly transferred information to growers, consultants, extension agents, and NRCS staff, resulting in adoption rates of conservation tillage exceeding 70 to 80% in the largest cotton producing counties in the region (over 120,000 acres of conservation tillage cotton). Working with researchers from the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, and specialists with NRCS, as well as private sector agribusiness, we have expanded research to include improved nitrogen management, improved irrigation efficiency, evaluation of site-specific technologies, and evaluation of controlled traffic systems resulting from automatic tractor steering in high-residue conservation systems in the Tennessee Valley. A Specific Cooperative Agreement with Alabama A&M University is now targeting this region by using poultry litter as a fertilizer and estimating carbon storage and emission and their effect on soil quality. 6. What science and/or technologies have been transferred and to whom? When is the science and/or technology likely to become available to the end- user (industry, farmer, other scientists)? What are the constraints, if known, to the adoption and durability of the technology products? Research conducted in this research project concluded that the depth of root-impeding soil compaction and tillage to the appropriate depth reduced soil strength in the rooting zone and increased cotton yields. Tillage deeper than necessary wasted draft energy and promoted future soil compaction; excessively shallow tillage did not eliminate soil compaction. As a result of this study, a CRADA with Deere and Company was created to investigate the concept of site-specific subsoiling. This CRADA was concluded in fall 2003. Research showed that site-specific subsoiling was a viable concept that reduced energy requirements while maintaining both corn and cotton yields. Producers and industry groups have been interested in the results of this study with several presentations and popular press articles resulting. The use of automatic steering systems for tractors has been a popular item that many producers have expressed interest in. The benefits of this technology for controlled traffic which limits soil compaction has prompted several producers to install these systems. Experiments in their third year are now underway which are evaluating the necessary accuracy for this technology that will enable users to continue to traffic row middles without compaction propagating under the rows. Several presentations and popular press articles have already resulted from this research. Many producers and industry representatives have expressed interest in publications relating to measurement and management of soil compaction. Publications relating to the development of our multiple-probe soil cone penetrometer system which is used to measure the depth and degree of soil compaction are frequently requested. A patent has been issued for a method of sensing on-the-go depth and compaction of hardpan layers in soils. This method has the distinct advantage of using a single force sensor to measure compaction at several depths and could easily be coupled with other technologies to measure other soil properties. This method should enable this time-consuming process of establishing the depth of soil compaction within a field to be conducted within a fraction of the time that is currently necessary. The use of this site-specific management system of measuring soil compaction could also facilitate the later application of site-specific subsoiling. Management of vehicle traffic and the use of cover crops for reducing the damaging effects of soil compaction are also frequently requested topics of presentations, popular press articles, and producer questions. Information on the conservation cropping system developed for cotton grown in the Tennessee Valley region continues to be widely transferred through field days, commodity tours, speaking engagements, and popular press articles. Many farmers in the Tennessee Valley region of North Alabama have used many of our research accomplishments from this project. Conservation tillage is now 'the conventional' farming system in this region with farmers using conservation strategies including non-inversion fall tillage and cover crops. Information on management of high-residue producing conservation tillage systems and managing soil compaction in conservation tillage systems was transferred through field days, commodity tours, speaking engagements, and popular press articles. One of the more popular requests that we are receiving from producers is for information regarding roller-crimpers for cover crop management. Research has been underway at the laboratory to develop more efficient methods of rolling/crimping cover crops that would be done at comparable speeds to herbicide spraying. Two patent applications have been submitted to the U.S. Patent Office for improved versions of cover crop roller-crimpers that significantly reduced vibration currently exhibited by cover crop rollers. This reduction in vibration assists in allowing producers to increase their field speed to speeds similar to their replaced spraying operations. Field tests were conducted and results showed improvements over current models. Our rollers have been displayed this year at technology transfer events in Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia, Georgia, and South Carolina. 7. List your most important publications in the popular press and presentations to organizations and articles written about your work. (NOTE: List your peer reviewed publications below). Popular publications Rebecca Bearden. Precision ag pays for prudent growers. Southeast Farm Press. Sept. 2004. Darrell Smith. All traffic runs in the same lanes. Farm Journal. Sept. 2004. Darrell Smith. All traffic runs in the same lanes. AgWeb. Sept. 2004. David Elstein. Conservation-tillage has immediate benefits. Southeast Farm Press. Oct. 2004. David Elstein. Conservation-tillage has immediate benefits. Seedquest. Oct. 2004. David Elstein. Conservation-tillage has immediate benefits. The Prairie Star. Oct. 2004. David Elstein. Conservation-tillage has immediate benefits. Tri-State Neighbor. Oct. 2004. David Elstein. Zero tilling can help increase crop yield significantly: Study. The Hindu Business Line. Nov. 2004. John Fulton. Research Update: Merging Sub-Surface Drip Irrigation (SDI) and Auto-Guidance. Growing Innovations. Jan. 2005. David Elstein. No-till provides immediate results. No-Till Farmer. Jan. 2005. Steve Werblow. Continuous No-till. CTIC Partners Magazine. Jan. 2005. Laura Sayre. Roller-crimpers on parade. The New Farm. May, 2005. Darrell Smith. Less Tillage, More Yield, Right Now. Farm Journal. May, 2005. Darrell Smith. Less Tillage, More Yield, Right Now. AgWeb. May, 2005. Dale Monks. Specialist Speaking. Cotton Farming. October, 2004. Presentations Managing of soil compaction in conservation tillage systems. South Texas Tillage Conference, Kingsville, TX. Oct. 2004. Research program of the Conservation Tillage Systems Research Team in Auburn, AL. Sunbelt Expo. Moultrie, GA. Oct. 2004. Development of Conservation Tillage Systems that Minimize Soil Compaction and Conserve Natural Resources. Agronomy and Soils Dept. Seminar. Auburn University. Auburn, AL. Sept. 2004. Managing soil compaction in conservation tillage systems. Professional Agricultural Workers Conference. Tuskegee University. Tuskegee, AL. Dec. 2004. Development of equipment for no-till conservation systems including vegetable production in Alabama. Professional Agricultural Workers Conference. Tuskegee University. Tuskegee, AL. Dec. 2004. The Conservation Security Program for the Limited Resource Farmer. Professional Agricultural Workers Conference. Tuskegee University. Tuskegee, AL. Dec. 2004. Managing of soil compaction in conservation tillage systems. Alabama Correctional Industries. Milstead, AL. Dec. 2004. Managing Cover crops using rollers and planting equipment for vegetable used in no-till conservation systems. Alabama Correctional Industries. Milstead, AL. Dec. 2004. Managing of soil compaction in conservation tillage systems. Tour group of German producers. Belle Mina, AL. Oct. 2004. Soil compaction. CCA/CEU Agronomic Seminar. Auburn, AL. Jan., 2005. Cover Crop Management and No-Till Equipment Development Used in Conservation Systems. Alabama Farmers Federation Association Conference. Birmingham, AL. Feb. 2005. New Horizons in Conservation Tillage Research. Alabama Farmers Federation Association Conference. Birmingham, AL. Feb. 2005. Conservation Systems Research Review. Auburn High School Ecology Class. Auburn, AL. April, 2005. New technologies for improving conservation tillage in Coastal Plains soils. South Alabama Conservation Tillage Field Day. June 2005. New technologies for improving conservation tillage in Tennessee Valley soils. North Alabama Conservation Tillage Field Day. June 2005. Conservation tillage technologies that improve productivity. South Alabama Crops Tour. Aug. 2005. Benefits of conservation systems. U.S. Senate staff. May 2005. Benefits of conservation systems. North Carolina State University Extension agents. June 2005. Handling high amounts of residue in conservation systems. Field Day for the Southern Conservation Tillage Conference. June 2005. Managing cover crops and equipment used conservation systems equipment. Field Day for the Southern Conservation Tillage Conference. June 2005. Soil moisture and cotton leaf temperature in conservation systems. Field Day for the Southern Conservation Tillage Conference. June 2005. Weed Suppression with Winter Cover Crops. Field Day for the Southern Conservation Tillage Conference. June 2005. Benefits of conservation systems. North Carolina growers. July, 2005. Benefits of conservation systems. East Alabama Cotton Tour. Aug. 2005. Row Spacings and Strip Tillage Systems for Corn and Peanut. Jay, FL Extension Row Crops and Farm Field Day. Aug. 2005. Cover Crops and Tillage in a Cotton-Corn Rotation. Cotton Field Day. Prattville, AL. August, 2004. Vegetable transplanter and a roller developed for no-till conservation vegetable production in Alabama. Experiences and Strategies for Alabama Organic Farms. Nov. 2004 Conservation systems and soil moisture management. Alabama Farmers Federation. Feb. 2005. Southern Soil Physics Group. March 8. Normal, AL. Current research in conservation tillage and drought stress in Alabama. Benefits of conservation tillage systems on water use and impact of conservation programs. GA Soil & Water Conservation Society. June 2005. Benefits of conservation tillage on rainfall and water management. GA Water Resources Conference. April, 2005. The Economics of Conservation Tillage and the CSP. Sustainable Agriculture and Conservation Tillage School. Feb. 2005. Conservation Security Program: Perspectives of Farmers in Three Alabama Watersheds. NRCS Seminar. May 2005. Weed Control and Cover Crop Management. No-Till Watermelon Field Day. May 2005. Conservation Systems and Weed Control in Cotton. Jay, FL Extension Row Crops and Farm Field Day. Aug. 2005. Non-ARS publications Reddy, K.C., Nyakatawa, E.Z., Reeves, D.W. 2004. Tillage and poultry litter application effects on cotton growth and yield. Agronomy Journal. 96:1641-1650. Nyakatawa, E.Z., Reddy, K.C., Reddy, K.R. 2004. Predicting cotton growth and yield in conservation tillage systems using GOSSYM model. International Journal of Biotronics. 33:13-30. Reddy, K.C., Nyakatawa, E.Z., Reeves, D.W. 2005. Tillage and poultry litter application effects on cotton growth and yield. AgProfessional. 14- 16.

Impacts
(N/A)

Publications

  • Chiroux, R.C., Foster Jr., W.A., Johnson, C.E., Shoop, S.A., Raper, R.L. 2005. Three dimensional finite element analysis of soil interaction with a rigid wheel. Applied Mathematics and Computation. 162(2):707-722.
  • Raper, R.L., Reeves, D.W. 2004. Reducing soil compaction with in-row subsoiling and controlled traffic. In: Proceedings of Session IV of the 2004 CIGR International Conference, October 11-14, 2004, Beijing, China. p. 69-78.
  • Raper, R.L. 2004. Selecting subsoilers to reduce soil compaction and minimize residue burial. Meeting Proceedings. In: Proceedings of Session IV of the 2004 CIGR International Conference, October 11-14, 2004, Beijing, China. p. 135-143.
  • Arriaga, F.J., Balkcom, K.S., Raper, R.L. 2005. Soil moisture and cotton leaf temperature in conservation systems. In: Proceedings of the Southern Conservation Tillage Systems Conference, June 27-29, 2005, Clemson University, Florence, South Carolina. p.111-112.
  • Balkcom, K.S., Arriaga, F.J., Hartzog, D.L. 2005. Narrow and wide strip tillage production for peanut. In: Proceedings of the Southern Conservation Tillage Systems Conference, June 27-29, 2005, Clemson University, Florence, South Carolina. p. 47-54.
  • Kornecki, T.S., Price, A.J., Raper, R.L., Arriaga, F.J., Balkcom, K.S. 2004. Effectiveness of different mechanical roller designs for terminating cover crops. In: Zhieai, W., Huawen, G., editors. Conservation Tillage & Sustainable Farming China Agricultural Science and Technology Press. 2004 CIGR International Conference, October 11-14, 2004, Beijing China. p. 218- 229.
  • Jones, J.R., Price, A.J., Raper, R.L., Kornecki, T.S. 2005. Evaluation of a mechanical roller-crimper and reduced glyphosate rates on cover crop desiccation in cotton [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the Southern Conservation Tillage Systems conference, June 27-29, 2005, Florence, South Carolina. p. 168.
  • Bergtold, J.S., Peterson, E.B. 2005. Introducing asymmetric separability in the fast multistage demand system. In: Proceedings of the American Agricultural and Applied Economics Association Annual Meeting, July 24-27, 2005, Providence, Rhode Island. Available: http://agecon.lib.umn.edu/
  • Bergtold, J.S., Spanos, A. 2005. Bernoulli regression models: re-examining statistical models with binary dependent variables. In: Proceedings of the American Agricultural and Applied Economics Association Annual Meeting, July 24-27, 2005, Providence, Rhode Island. Available: http://agecon.lib. umn.edu/
  • Raper, R.L., Sharma, A.K. 2004. Soil moisture effects on energy requirements and soil disruption of subsoiling a coastal plain soil. Transactions of the ASAE. 47(6):1899-1905.
  • Raper, R.L., Arriaga, F.J. 2005. Effect of vehicle load, transducer depth, and transducer type on soil pressures. ASAE Annual International Meeting. Paper No.051159.
  • Balkcom, K.S., Reeves, D.W., Burmester, C.H., Shaw, J.N., Curtis, L.M. 2005. Cotton yield and fiber quality for irrigated tillage systems of the tennessee valley. In: Richter, D.F., editors. Proceedings of the 2005 National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference, January 4-7, 2005, Memphis, Tennessee. p. 2481-2485.
  • Balkcom, K.S., Terra, J.A., Shaw, J.N., Reeves, D.W., Raper, R.L. 2004. Soil management system and landscape position interactions on nutrient distribution in a coastal plain field [abstract]. American Society of Agronomy Meetings. CDROM
  • Bergtold, J.S., Terra, J.A., Reeves, D.W., Shaw, J.N., Balkcom, K.S., Raper, R.L. 2005. Profitability and risk associated with alternative mixtures of high-residue cover crops. In: Proceedings of the 27th Annual Southern Conservation Tillage for Sustainable Agriculture, June 27-29, 2005, Florence, South Carolina. p.113-121.
  • Kornecki, T.S., Raper, R.L., Arriaga, F.J., Balkcom, K.S., Price, A.J. 2005. Effects of rolling/crimping rye direction and different row-cleaning attachments on cotton emergence and yield. In: Proceedings of the Southern Conservation Tillage Systems Conference, June 27-29, 2005, Clemson University, Florence, South Carolina. p. 169-177.
  • Lawrence, K., Balkcom, K.S., Smith, R., Price, A.J., Arriaga, F.J., Jones, J.R., Usery, S., Lawrence, G.W. 2005. Evaluation of tillage and experimental nematicides on meloidogyne incognita in cotton. In: Proceedings Society of Nematologists, July 9-13, 2005, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. p. 49.
  • Meso, B., Balkcom, K.S., Wood, C.W., Adams, J.F. 2005. Peanut residue as a nitrogen source for conservation tillage rye and cotton. In: Proceedings of the Southern Conservation Tillage Systems Conference, June 27-29, 2005, Clemson University, Florence, South Carolina. p. 185-191.
  • Price, A.J., Balkcom, K.S., Arriaga, F.J. 2005. Rye biomass amount affects weed suppression levels in conservation-tillage cotton. In: Richter, D.F., editor. Proceedings of the 2005 National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference, January 4-7, 2005, New Orleans, Louisiana. p.2921-2923.
  • Price, A.J., Balkcom, K.S., Arriaga, F.J. 2005. Weed suppression provided by rye and clover in conservation-tillage cotton and corn. In: Proceedings of Southern Weed Science Society, January 24-26, 2005, Charlotte, North Carolina. 58:33.
  • Raper, R.L., Schwab, E.B., Balkcom, K.S., Reeves, D.W. 2005. Frequency of in-row subsoiling necessary for coastal plains soils. In: Richter, D.F., editors. Proceedings of the 2005 National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference, January 4-7, 2005, New Orleans, Louisiana. p. 2488-2491.
  • Raper, R.L., Reeves, D.W., Shaw, J.N., Van Santen, E., Mask, P.L. 2005. Site-specific subsoiling benefits for cotton production. ASAE Annual International Meeting. Paper No. 051025.
  • Raper, R.L. 2005. Subsoiler shapes for site-specific tillage. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 21(1):25-30.
  • Raper, R.L., Schwab, E.B., Balkcom, K.S., Burmester, C.H., Reeves, D.W. 2005. Effect of annual, biennial, and triennial in-row subsoiling on soil compaction and cotton yield in southwestern u.s. silt loam soils. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 21(3):337-343.
  • Hall, E., Raper, R.L. 2005. Development and concept evaluation of an on- the-go soil strength measurement system. Transactions of the ASAE. 48(2) :469-477.
  • Terra, J.A., Shaw, J.N., Reeves, D.W., Raper, R.L., Van Santen, E., Mask, P.L. 2004. Soil carbon relationships with terrain attributes, electrical conductivity surveys and soil map units in a coastal plain landscape. Soil Science. 169:819-831.
  • Arriaga, F.J., Lowery, B. 2005. Spatial distribution of carbon over an eroded landscape in southwest wisconsin. International Journal of Soil and Tillage Research. 81:155-162.
  • Johnson, D.O., Arriaga, F.J., Lowery, B. 2005. Automation of a falling head permeameter for rapid determination of hydraulic conductivity on multiple samples. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 69(3):828-833.
  • Balkcom, K.S., Reeves, D.W. 2005. Sunn hemp utilized as a legume cover crop for corn production. Agronomy Journal. 97:26-31.
  • Balkcom, K.S., Wood, C.W., Adams, J.F., Wood, B.H. 2004. Composition and decomposition of peanut residues. Peanut Science. 31:6-11.
  • Kornecki, T.S., Grigg, B.C., Fouss, J.L., Southwick Jr, L.M. 2004. Polyacrylamide (pam) application effectiveness in reducing alluvial soil erosion from sugarcane lands in southern louisiana: experimental approach and results. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 21(2):189-196.
  • Price, A.J., Wilcut, J.W., Cranmer, J.R. 2004. Physiological behavior of root-absorbed flumioxazin in peanut, ivyleaf morningglory, and sicklepod. Weed Science. 52:718-724
  • Wilkerson, G.G., Price, A.J., Bennett, A.C., Krueger, D.W., Roberson, G.T., Robinson, B.L. 2005. Evaluating the potential for site-specific herbicide application in soybean (glycine max). Weed Technology. 18:1101-1110.
  • Price, A.J., Wilcut, J.W., Cranmer, J.R. 2004. Flumioxazin preplant or postemergence-directed application timing followed by irrigation at emergency or after pds treatment does not influence cotton (gossypium hirsutum l.) yield. Weed Technology. 18:310-314
  • Burke, I.C., Price, A.J., Wilcut, J.W., Jordan, D. L., Culpepper, S.A., and J. Tredaway-Ducar. Annual grass control in peanut (arachis hypogaia) with clethodim and imazapic. Weed Technology. 2004. v. 18. p. 88-92.
  • Price, A. J., Pline, W. A., Wilcut, J. W., Cranmer, J. R., and D. Danehower. 2004. Physiological basis for cotton tolerance to flumioxazin applied postemergence directed. Weed Science. 52:1-7.
  • Raper, R.L., Simionescu, P.A., Kornecki, T.S., Price, A.J., Reeves, D.W. 2004. Reducing vibration while maintaining efficacy of rollers to terminate cover crops. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 20(5):581-584.


Progress 10/01/03 to 09/30/04

Outputs
1. What major problem or issue is being resolved and how are you resolving it (summarize project aims and objectives)? How serious is the problem? What does it matter? The number of acres and the percentage of total acres in the U.S. planted in conservation tillage have declined since 1998 according to the Conservation Tillage Information Center (C.T.I.C., 2002). Only 37% of all U.S. crop land is planted using technology which leaves at least 30% residue cover on the soil surface. The Southeast has a somewhat higher conservation tillage adoption rate of 42.5% which has increased substantially from only 25% in 2000. Much of this improvement can be attributed to research and technology transfer efforts being conducted in the region. Conservation tillage and development of intensive farming systems to maximize carbon storage on degraded soils in the Southeast can significantly contribute to mitigation of greenhouse gas effects, and thus help achieve the goals of the recent Kyoto Protocol. More importantly, NSDL research has already shown that soil-specific conservation systems can improve the profitability of Southeastern farms, mainly by increasing soil water storage and availability to crops during periods of short-term drought common in the region. The complexity of developing and managing economically viable, ecologically adapted, and environmentally sound production systems requires a multi-disciplinary field research approach. Research to solve the problem includes developing alternative crops and production systems; integrating system components and operative windows; developing practical systems and tools that reduce risks of production systems by using cover crops and high residue rotations; integrating residue management and other soil management practices to reduce soil compaction, increase plant available water, reducing risks and inputs for weed control in conservation systems, increasing use and diversity of crop rotations, improving nutrient use efficiencies of inorganic and organic nutrient sources, and developing rapid soil quality assessment tools for use in management decisions and evaluating the economics of their use. The research task is not complete until the information is effectively delivered to the customers and stakeholders. Especially critical is the lack of conservation tillage in cotton production. There is great variation among states in adoption of conservation tillage for cotton. Alabama is a leader, with over 60% of the crop in conservation tillage. However, in the Conservation Technology Information Center (C.T.I.C.) Southern Region, only 19% of the cotton (some 2.4 million acres) was grown using no-tillage or strip tillage in 2002. This is a major problem because more than 25% of this cotton is grown on highly erodible land, and most cotton land is degraded from loss of soil carbon and physical degradation. Even worse is that much of the cotton grown with no-tillage does not use a rotation system or cover crops to produce carbon inputs that exceed the carbon oxidation rate. Agronomically and environmentally sound conservation practices will not be adopted if not practical and economically viable. Thus, alternative conservation systems need to be developed that reduce economic risks for the producer but are practical from the point of component integration and adoption. Farm profitability on degraded soils is marginal throughout the Southeast. The low productive potential of many of these soils, coupled with recent poor crop prices and severe droughts in 1998, 1999, and 2000, and 2002 has placed many farmers in an untenable position. Cropping and soil management systems are needed that increase soil quality and productive potential of these soils while decreasing inputs and increasing net returns. 2. List the milestones (indicators of progress) from your Project Plan. Determining best management practices for enhancing soil quality and increasing soil carbon. 2001 - conduct field sampling and rainfall simulation studies at TN Valley and Coastal Plain location. 2002 - conduct laboratory analyses, data summary, and conduct infiltration measurements at Appalachian Plateau location. 2003 - summarize data and develop recommendations and guidelines, including initial technology transfer and publication. 2004 - conduct technology transfer. 2005 - continue technology transfer to NRCS consultants, and producers. Using electrical conductivity measurements for field mapping and soil quality indicators. 2001 - conduct field sampling, obtain yield maps and electrical conductivity mapping. 2002 - obtain yield maps and conduct electrical conductivity mapping, conduct laboratory analyses. 2003 - analyze data and interpret information leading to initial summary publications. 2004 - publish information for scientists, growers, and action agencies. 2005 - develop information for producers to manage field scale variation of chemical and physical soil quality indicators in relation to inputs and returns. Development of cover crops for conservation tillage systems. 2001 - conduct field testing of germplasm. 2002 - continued field testing/screening, data analyses and identification of any promising lines. 2003 - promising lines placed in tests as a cover crop for corn and cotton. 2004 - conduct data analyses. 2005 - develop recommendations and guidelines for use of Brassica cover crops in conservation systems. Development of intensive farming systems with ultra-narrow row cotton. 2001 - conduct field testing and data collection. 2002 - conduct field testing and data collection, begin data analyses. 2003 - data analyses, summarize results. 2004 - develop recommendations and guidelines for systems to increase soil C, improve soil quality and profitability. 2005 - continue technology transfer, including multiple media, to NRCS consultants, and producers. Reducing residue burial by tillage tools. 2001 - conduct depth experiment. 2002 - conduct speed experiment. 2003 - conduct implement experiment. 2004 - transfer Technology to NRCS and American farmer. Sub-objective 2: Increase plant available water and reduce risks of short-term drought. Evaluate concept of site-specific subsoiling. 2001 - Initiate experiment to evaluate concept. 2002 - Develop prototype site-specific tillage tool. 2003 - Analyze data. 2004 - Finalize experiment and transfer data to CRADA partner. 2005 - Transfer technology to American farmer. Reducing subsoiling frequency and energy requirements for hardpan disruption in conservation tillage systems. 2001 - Initiate Tennessee Valley experiment and collect data. 2002 - Initiate Coastal Plains experiment and initiate basic shank experiments in soil bins to evaluate design and energy requirements. 2003 - data analyses and summary for soil bin experiment, report results of shank design research to military and publish in scientific media. 2004 - finalize Tennessee Valley Experiment. 2005 - finalize Coastal Plains experiment and transfer technology. Sub-objective 3: Improve production profitability and reduce economic risks. Determination of tillage requirements for winter grazing. 2001 - initiate field studies and data collection. 2002 - continue data collection, laboratory analyses, and data summary. 2003 - conduct laboratory analyses, data summary, and initiate technology transfer. 2004 - Develop recommendations and guidelines and transfer technology. 2005 - continue technology transfer, including multiple media, to NRCS consultants, and producers. Develop improved mechanical roller to flatten/crimp cover crops. 2001 - laboratory analyses and data summary. 2002 - develop recommendations and guidelines and transfer technology. 2003 - planning/design of roller with concentrated herbicide wick-wipe applicator. 2004 - continue technology transfer, including multiple media, to NRCS consultants, and producers. Develop methods of improving N management in conservation tillage systems. 2001 - initiate field studies, data collection, laboratory analyses. 2002 - data collection, laboratory analyses, initial data analysis and summary. 2003 - data collection, laboratory analyses, data analysis and summary. 2004 - publication media for scientists, growers, and action agencies. 2005 - develop guidelines and information for producers to manage N more effectively in high residue conservation systems for cotton. Development of improved soil and residue management systems for enhanced planter performance. 2001 - establish cover crop and determine furrow-closer settings and procedures, identify planter components, determine traffic for forming ruts. 2002 - use planter components and collect data. 2003 - use planter components and collect data. 2004 - use planter components and collect data. 2005 - technology transfer. 3. Milestones: Sub-objective 1: Increase soil carbon with resultant improvements in soil quality and productivity. Determining best management practices for enhancing soil quality and increasing soil carbon. Conduct technology transfer: A dissertation was completed on the first three-years of a long-term experiment that was initiated on Coastal Plain soils, manuscripts were prepared and have been submitted for publication, and presentations have been made to numerous user groups. Using electrical conductivity measurements for field mapping and soil quality indicators. Publish information for scientists, growers, and action agencies: A dissertation was completed, presentations were made to user groups, and a final publication is being prepared for publication. Development of cover crops for conservation tillage systems. Conduct data analyses on development of Brassica for cover crops: Research on use of Brassica is incomplete due to University cooperator's failure to complete data analysis. Research using other cover crops is continuing including the effectiveness of cover crops to suppress weed growth. Development of intensive farming systems with ultra-narrow row cotton. Develop recommendations and guidelines for systems to increase soil C, improve soil quality and profitability: Research has been published on results that prove the objectives, however adoption of this technology is hindered by inferior cotton fiber quality. A new research approach has been started that compares several transgenic and one non-transgenic varieties across conservation and conventional tillage systems. Reducing residue burial by tillage tools. Transfer technology to NRCS and American farmer: Surface tillage experiments were completed, research was presented to NRCS in special workshop, and manuscript was published. A device was constructed to evaluate the above- and below-ground soil disruption caused by subsoiling and is currently being used to determine the best method of subsoiling that minimally disturbs the soil surface. This information has been presented to producers and implement manufacturers and manuscripts published. Sub-objective 2: Increase plant available water and reduce risks of short-term drought. Evaluate concept of site-specific subsoiling. Finalize experiment and transfer data to CRADA partner: The multi-year experiment was completed, the CRADA was terminated, presentations have been made to user groups, and the results are being prepared for publication. Further development of a field implement is being conducted on applying our patented technology to facilitate acquisition of depth of root-impeding layer on-the-go. Reducing subsoiling frequency and energy requirements for hardpan disruption in conservation tillage systems. Finalize Tennessee Valley Experiment: This experiment was completed, an additional rainfall simulation study was conducted, the research has been presented, and a manuscript is being prepared for publication. Sub-objective 3: Improve production profitability and reduce economic risks. Determination of tillage requirements for winter grazing. Develop recommendations for integrated row crop-livestock production systems with winter annual grazing of stocker cattle that improves soil quality and increases profitability: A dissertation has been completed, a manuscript has been completed, and information has been presented at producer field days. Develop improved mechanical roller to flatten/crimp cover crops. Continue technology transfer, including multiple media, to NRCS consultants, and producers: Additional research has been conducted to reduce vibration associated with roller, a manuscript has been published, and a patent application for an improved roller that reduces vibration has been filed with U.S. Patent Office. Develop methods of improving N management in conservation tillage systems. Publication media for scientists, growers, and action agencies: The research has been published and presentations made to farmer groups at experiment station field days. Development of improved soil and residue management systems for enhanced planter performance. Use planter components and collect data: The final year of the soil bin planter furrow-closing experiment was conducted. The first year of the soil bin planter operating in a rut experiment was conducted. A field experiment to analyze various planter attachments operating in heavy residue laying in various directions was started. B. List the milestones (from the list in Question #2) that you expect to address over the next 3 years (FY 2005, 2006, & 2007). What do you expect to accomplish, year by year, over the next 3 years under each milestone? This CRIS, 6420-12610-002-00D, "Conservation Production Systems for Improved Profitability and Soil Quality," was formed in FY 2001 as a result of a Customer Focus Group Input Meeting held February 4, 1999. Specifically the goals of the CRIS are: increase adoption of conservation systems, especially in the Southeast; improve profitability and reduce economic risks of existing farming systems by enhancing carbon storage, increase plant available soil water and soil productivity and quality; and develop new production systems that are more profitable, less risky, and improve soil quality and productivity. Additional research funds acquired over the last 4 years have allowed 4 additional SY's to be added to this CRIS which now includes two agricultural engineers, a weed scientist, a soil scientist, a research agronomist, and an agricultural economist. Numerous new projects have been started in the last two years under the three original sub-objectives of the project plan. Su-bobjective 1: Increase soil carbon with resultant improvements in soil quality and productivity. 2005 Continue transferring technology associated with developing intensive farming systems with ultra-narrow row cotton. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Conduct research to determine winter cover crop recommendations to suppress weed emergence. Conduct research to develop winter cover crop recommendations for suppression of glyphosate resistant horseweed. Conduct research to develop recommendations and guidelines for use of Brassica, legume, and cereal cover crops in conservation systems Conduct research to compare plant populations and row spacing for conservation tillage corn production in Alabama. Conduct research to increase organic matter levels, eliminate shallow hardpans, and increase the adoption of high residue cover crops for cotton and corn production in central Alabama. Conduct experiment to develop information for predicting weed seed emergence following various cover cropping systems. Conduct experiment to develop planting date recommendations based on historical rainfall data, including total amount and timing, in an effort to ameliorate short-term drought effects on crop yield. Conduct research to compare standard 40" cotton to 15" cotton across conventional and conservation tillage systems and conventional and transgenic cotton varieties. Develop information for predicting weed seed emergence and weed competitiveness in standard row and twin row corn and cotton. Develop information for producers to manage field scale variation of chemical and physical soil quality indicators in relation to inputs and returns by using management zones created using soil electrical conductivity. Summarize weed seed emergence model research and present results to producer groups and crop protection industry. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Finalize research on the effect peanut residues have on nitrogen requirements of cotton in conservation tillage systems. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize and communicate to producers on the long-term impacts of no- till versus conventional tillage systems have on soil moisture retention, water infiltration, hydraulic conductivity, soil carbon, and bulk density. Results will be transferred through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize and communicate results of the efficacy of in-furrow cotton nematicide treatments within different tillage systems. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. 2006 Conduct research to develop recommendations and guidelines for use of Brassica, legume, and cereal cover crops in conservation systems. Conduct research to develop winter cover crop recommendations to suppress weed emergence. Conduct research to develop winter cover crop recommendations for suppressing glyphosate resistant horseweed. Conduct experiment to develop information for predicting weed seed emergence and weed competitiveness in standard row and twin row corn and cotton. Conduct research to eliminate hardpans, increase organic matter levels and increase the adoption of high residue cover crops for central Alabama corn and cotton production. Finalize research to compare standard 40" cotton to 15" cotton across conventional and conservation tillage systems and conventional and transgenic cotton varieties. Summarize and communicate to growers optimal plant populations and row spacing for conservation tillage corn production in Alabama. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize weed seed emergence under various cover cropping systems research and present results to producer groups and crop protection industry. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize and communicate to growers the effect peanut residues have on nitrogen requirements of cotton in conservation tillage systems. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize research on crop rotations that include cover crops as a way to reduce the effects of short-term droughts on crop production. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize research and communicate to growers optimal plant populations and row spacing for conservation tillage corn production in Alabama. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. 2007 Conduct research to develop winter cover crop recommendations to suppress weed emergence. Continue developing research on improving soil hydraulic properties with soil conservation management techniques to improve the tolerance of crops to drought stress. Summarize data/information and transfer findings through presentations, participation field days, tech transfer documents and other means. Summarize research and communicate to growers conservation tillage practices for central Alabama cotton and corn production that will improve organic matter levels and alleviate shallow hardpans. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize and communicate research that compares standard 40" cotton to 15" cotton across conventional and conservation tillage systems and conventional and transgenic cotton varieties. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize research and develop guidelines for using Brassica, legume and cereal cover crops in conservation systems Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize information for predicting weed seed emergence and weed competitiveness in standard row and twin row cotton. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize winter cover crop recommendations for suppressing glyphosate resistant horseweed. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize information for predicting weed seed emergence and weed competiveness in standard row and twin row corn. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Sub-objective 2: Increase plant available water and reduce risks of short-term drought. 2005 Transfer technology from site-specific subsoiling experiment to American producers through written publications, field presentations, CSR fact sheets, and CSR web site. Conduct soil bin research to determine optimum shape for bentleg shanks that maximum soil disruption while minimally disturbing the soil surface. Conduct soil bin research to determine effect of subsoiler attachments. Create field-ready implement from patented technology to sense soil compaction on-the-go. Conduct research to determine benefits of automatic steering systems for improving peanut harvesting efficiency. Conduct research designed to determine proximity of vehicle traffic to subsoiled zones rows without detrimentally compacting them. Conduct research on the use of unconventional soil additives to improve water retention in soil to reduce the impact of short-term drought. Conduct research on optimal below ground soil disruption to improve infiltration and redistribution of water in the soil profile. Finalize Coastal Plains experiment to determine subsoiling frequency necessary for conservation tillage systems. Summarize soil bin research and make presentations to industry and farmer groups on improved shank design to disrupt hardpan soils. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize research on frequency of tillage needed to eradicate compacted soil layers in Tennessee Valley soils. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize research on irrigation requirements for cotton on silt loam soils as impacted by tillage system. Results of this research will be transferred to the American public through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. 2006 Conduct field research to determine optimum shape for bentleg shanks that maximum soil disruption while minimally disturbing the soil surface. Conduct field research to determine effect of subsoiler attachments. Test and evaluate field implement to sense soil compaction on-the-go. Conduct research to determine benefits of automatic steering systems for improving peanut harvesting efficiency. Conduct research designed to determine proximity of vehicle traffic to subsoiled zones rows without detrimentally compacting them. Summarize research on frequency of tillage needed to eradicate compacted soil layers in a Coastal Plains soil. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. 2007 Conduct field research to determine optimum shape for bentleg shanks that maximum soil disruption while minimally disturbing the soil surface. Conduct field research to determine effect of subsoiler attachments. Summarize research to determine benefits of automatic steering systems for improving peanut harvesting efficiency. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize research designed to determine proximity of vehicle traffic to subsoiled zones rows without detrimentally compacting them. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Sub-objective 3: Improve production profitability and reduce economic risks. 2005 Continue technology transfer of determining tillage requirements for winter grazing, including multiple media, to NRCS consultants, and producers. Conduct research to obtain optimized roller design for termination of cover crops in row crop production systems. Conduct research to design rollers for cover crop termination in bedded vegetable systems. Conduct field experiment to analyze various planter attachments operating in heavy residue lying in various directions. Conduct research on the effects of improved soil properties and weed germination. Conduct research to examine the economic and sociological factors attributed to farmers that would lead them to adopt and/or intensify conservation management practices under the Conservation Security Program. Conduct research examining the economic risks associated with transitioning from conventional tillage to conservation tillage. Develop guidelines and information for producers to manage N more effectively in high residue conservation systems for cotton. Summarize research on the soil bin planter furrow-closing experiment. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. 2006 Conduct research to obtain optimized roller design for termination of cover crops in row crop production systems. Conduct research to design rollers for cover crop termination in bedded vegetable systems. Conduct field experiment to analyze various planter attachments operating in heavy residue lying in various directions. Conduct research to examine economically feasible and statistically consistent techniques for determining farm management zones on a field scale. Develop guidelines and information concerning the implementation of the Conservation Security Program in the southeastern United States. 2007 Develop procedures and decision aides for farmers to determine economically viable within field management zones. Summarize research to obtain optimized roller design for termination of cover crops in row crop production systems. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize research to design rollers for cover crop termination in bedded vegetable systems. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize field experiment to analyze various planter attachments operating in heavy residue lying in various directions. Results of this research will be transferred to American producers through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. 4. What were the most significant accomplishments this past year? A. Single most significant accomplishment during FY 2004 (one per Research (OOD) Project): Effect of Landscape Position on Crop Yield When Transitioning from Conventional to Conservation Tillage Systems Many producers who are using conventional tillage systems mistakenly think that they must suffer several years of reduced crop yields prior to their soils responding positively to a reduced tillage system. The first phase of a large 20-acre long-term field experiment was completed which analyzed the initial transition from a conventional tillage system to a conservation tillage system. This experiment, jointly administered by the USDA-ARS National Soil Dynamics Laboratory's Conservation Systems Research CRIS in Auburn, AL, the USDA-ARS J. Phil Campbell, Sr., Natural Resource Conservation Center in Watkinsville, GA, and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, and partially funded by a Specific Cooperative Agreement with Auburn University, is the first in the region to examine crop management systems, productivity, and landscape interactions. Soil survey, topography, and electrical conductivity maps were used to define management zones. Treatments were a conventional system with (CTM) or without manure (CT), and a conservation system with (NTM) or without manure (NT). In CT and CTM, tillage consisted of chisel plowing/disking + in-row subsoiling; no cover crop was used. The NT and NTM consisted of no-tillage with in-row subsoiling and winter cover crops. Results indicated that in every management zone in the field, which included knolls, severely eroded side-slopes, and valleys, the use of conservation systems resulted in immediate increased crop productivity as compared to the conventional tillage systems. Additional funding has been acquired to examine the benefits of cropping systems and landscape/soil variability on greenhouse gas emissions. B. Other significant accomplishment(s), if any. Enhanced Funding Provides for Additional Research Thrusts in Conservation Systems Research Many producers need additional scientific information before they are willing to adopt conservation tillage systems which conserve natural resources and maximize use of available soil water. New research funding targeted toward developing conservation systems for degraded soil resource areas was allocated to the Conservation Systems Research CRIS at the USDA-ARS National Soil Dynamics Laboratory which has allowed five scientific vacancies to be created and filled during the past two years. The multidisciplinary research team assembled in the Conservation Systems Research CRIS now includes two agricultural engineers, a weed scientist, a research agronomist, a soil scientist, and an agricultural economist. Research accomplishments of this team should enable producers who farm severely degraded Southeastern soils to have the capability of selecting conservation tillage practices which conserve soil, water, and energy resources while maintaining or improving crop yields. Tillage Requirements for Winter-Annual Grazing Rotations Integrating livestock with cotton - peanut rotations may offer profitable alternatives for producers but could result in excessive soil compaction, which can severely limit yields. An experiment which was jointly administered by the USDA-ARS National Soil Dynamics Laboratory's Conservation Systems Research CRIS in Auburn, AL, the USDA-ARS J. Phil Campbell, Sr., Natural Resource Conservation Center in Watkinsville, GA, and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, and partially funded by a Specific Cooperative Agreement with Auburn University, investigated this concept. We conducted a 3-yr field study with the objective of developing a conservation tillage system for integrating cotton-peanut production with winter-annual grazing that maintains or improves soil quality and increases profitability. Tillage systems included: moldboard plow and chisel plow; and combinations of non-inversion deep tillage with and without disk/level. Net returns from winter-annual grazing were between $64 to $83 per acre per year. Grazing increased soil compaction to the 4-in depth, but tillage (conventional surface tillage or deep tillage) reduced compaction and increased soil water removal by cotton and peanut compared to strict no-tillage. Strict no-tillage resulted in the lowest yields (23% and 39% less than the mean for cotton and peanut, respectively) and non-inversion deep tillage was required to maximize yields with no-(surface) tillage. Producers in the region can integrate winter-annual grazing with cotton and peanut using non-inversion deep tillage in conservation tillage systems to raise revenue during winter months without sacrificing cotton and peanut yields. Soil Moisture Effects on Energy Requirements and Soil Disruption Of Subsoiling Breaking up compacted soil layers using tillage is necessary for many U.S. soils. However, the energy costs can be substantial. Also, tillage could result in excessive surface soil disruption that could unnecessarily expose bare soil to rainfall. An experiment was conducted to determine the energy requirements and the soil disturbance caused by two subsoilers, a straight shank and a "minimum-tillage" shank at four moisture contents in a Coastal Plains soil. The results showed that increased energy requirements and increased soil disturbance resulted from subsoiling at extremely dry conditions. A "minimum-tillage" shank required more energy than the straight shank but also caused more soil disturbance on the soil surface. Producers wishing to subsoil to disrupt compacted soil layers should not operate at either extreme of soil moisture. Subsoiling in extremely wet soil conditions may lead to additional compaction due to vehicle traffic. Subsoiling in extremely dry soil conditions may increase energy requirements and surface disruption. Force Requirements and Soil Disruption of Straight and Bentleg Subsoilers for Conservation Tillage Systems Selecting the best implement for eliminating compacted soil layers and producing optimum crop yields is mostly driven by implement cost. However, implements for deep tillage vary in their ability to maintain crop residues on the soil surface which is extremely important for conservation tillage systems. A field experiment was conducted which compared several deep tillage implements which are commonly used for soil compaction disruption. Results from this experiment showed that bentleg shanks maintained the highest amount of crop residue on the soil surface while not requiring additional force to disrupt compacted soil profiles. Producers who must conduct deep tillage to manage soil compaction can use these bentleg shanks with confidence that they are able to maintain maximum amounts of crop residue on the soil surface. Reducing Soil Compaction with In-Row Subsoiling and Controlled Traffic As many producers move into conservation tillage systems with reduced surface tillage and the capability of reducing their vehicle traffic, many wonder about their need to continue to conduct deep tillage in Coastal Plains soils. An experiment was conducted to determine the effects of vehicle traffic, surface tillage, and deep tillage on soil properties. Results showed that the negative compactive effects of vehicle traffic beside the row was mitigated by the practice of annual in- row subsoiling. Producers with this soil type who want to enhance their soil condition for optimum productivity should develop a conservation management system that limits random vehicle traffic and uses annual in- row subsoiling. Reducing Vibration of Cover Crop Rollers while Terminating Cover Crops Cover crops have been shown to provide beneficial results for crop production and environmental protection; however, they can interfere with proper cash crop establishment and growth. Rollers may provide a valuable alternative to chemicals for killing cover crops with the added incentive of providing a flat, unidirectional mat of residue cover. However, many producers have reported that when they used rollers, they found an excessive amount of vibration was transmitted back to the tractor. Alternative blade systems were tested and were found to have decreased vibration. This information can be used by producers and implement manufacturers to create a better implement that will enhance the use of conservation systems for row-crop production. One patent application has been filed with the U.S. Patent Office on this new technology with another one currently in development. Information regarding the inexpensive and efficient roller-crimper continues to be frequently requested by Cooperative Extension, NRCS, and producers, and continues to be featured in numerous popular press articles. Quickly and Successfully Transferring Technology to Producers Following on the heels of the extremely successful 25th Southern Conservation Tillage for Sustainable Agriculture Conference and Field Day which was held at Auburn University and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station's E.V. Smith Research and Education Center on June 24- 26, 2002 which welcomed more than 500 attendees, we have intensified our technology transfer efforts to enable our research efforts to be quickly adopted by our customers. A Technology Transfer Specialist, which is supplied to the parent CRIS by Auburn University under a Specific Cooperative Agreement, coordinates our technology transfer program by creating project plans of our important research discoveries, maintaining the Conservation Systems Research web page (msa.ars.usda. gov/al/auburn/nsdl/csr), coordinating displays and representing the Conservation Systems Research CRIS at producer field days held in the Southeast, and in general by assisting the scientists to quickly transfer their scientific research results into forms accessible to our customers. C. Significant activities that support special target populations. A Specific Cooperative Agreement with Tuskegee University was created to work with limited-resource vegetable growers selected from within the Black Belt or Prairie soil region of Alabama to: 1) develop vegetable cropping systems that increase soil organic carbon and improve efficiency of organic nitrogen applications; reduce soil compaction; and reduce nutrient and soil losses through runoff; 2) network with limited- resource farmers to improve their access to agronomic information; and 3) provide technical and analytical support for sustainable soil management to limited-resource vegetable producers. This project was implemented on two producers' farms and is in its second year. 5. Describe the major accomplishments over the life of the project, including their predicted or actual impact. Increasing Adoption of Conservation Tillage Technology in the Tennessee Valley Region This is the fourth annual report for CRIS 6420-12610-002-00D. One of the most significant accomplishments of this CRIS and its predecessors is the development of a conservation cropping system for the Tennessee Valley region that included practices of non-inversion fall tillage to alleviate problems of soil compaction and a rye cover crop to reduce soil compaction, reduce weed pressure and conserve soil moisture during periods of drought stress. Soil erosion from continuous cotton cropping and governmental regulations forced many cotton producers in the Tennessee River Valley of northern Alabama to try no-tillage in the early 1990's, but yield reductions prevented widespread adoption of this beneficial system. We, partnering with Auburn University and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station (AAES), Alabama Cooperative Extension Service (ACES) and USDA-NRCS, have rapidly transferred information to growers, consultants, extension agents, and NRCS staff, resulting in adoption rates of conservation tillage exceeding 70 to 80% in the largest cotton producing counties in the region (over 120,000 acres of conservation tillage cotton). Working with researchers from the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, and specialists with NRCS, as well as private sector agribusiness, we have expanded research to include improved nitrogen management, improved irrigation efficiency, evaluation of site-specific technologies, and evaluation of controlled traffic systems resulting from automatic tractor steering in high-residue conservation systems in the Tennessee Valley. A Specific Cooperative Agreement with Alabama A&M University is now targeting this region by using poultry litter as a fertilizer and estimating carbon storage and emission and their effect on soil quality. 6. What science and/or technologies have been transferred and to whom? When is the science and/or technology likely to become available to the end- user (industry, farmer, other scientists)? What are the constraints, if known, to the adoption and durability of the technology products? Research conducted in this CRIS concluded that the depth of root-impeding soil compaction and tillage to the appropriate depth reduced soil strength in the rooting zone and increased cotton yields. Tillage deeper than necessary wasted draft energy and promoted future soil compaction; excessively shallow tillage did not eliminate soil compaction. As a result of this study, a CRADA with Deere and Company was created to investigate the concept of site-specific subsoiling. This CRADA was concluded in fall 2003. Research showed that site-specific subsoiling was a viable concept that reduced energy requirements while maintaining both corn and cotton yields. Producers and industry groups have been interested in the results of this study with several presentations and popular press articles resulting. The use of automatic steering systems for tractors has been a popular item that many producers have expressed interest in. The benefits of this technology for controlled traffic which limits soil compaction has prompted several producers to install these systems. Experiments in their second year are now underway which are evaluating the necessary accuracy for this technology that will enable users to continue to traffic row middles without compaction propagating under the rows. Several presentations and popular press articles have already resulted from this research. Many producers and industry representatives have expressed interest in publications relating to measurement and management of soil compaction. Publications relating to the development of our multiple-probe soil cone penetrometer system which is used to measure the depth and degree of soil compaction are frequently requested. A patent (Raper, R.L. and H.E. Hall. Soil strength measurement for site-specific agriculture. U.S. Patent #6647799. Nov. 18, 2003) has been issued for a method of sensing on-the- go depth and compaction of hardpan layers in soils. This method has the distinct advantage of using a single force sensor to measure compaction at several depths and could easily be coupled with other technologies to measure other soil properties. This method should enable this time- consuming process of establishing the depth of soil compaction within a field to be conducted within a fraction of the time that is currently necessary. The use of this site-specific management system of measuring soil compaction could also facilitate the later application of site- specific subsoiling. Management of vehicle traffic and the use of cover crops for reducing the damaging effects of soil compaction are also frequently requested topics of presentations, popular press articles, and producer questions. Information on the conservation cropping system developed for cotton grown in the Tennessee Valley region CONTINUES to be widely transferred through field days, commodity tours, speaking engagements, and popular press articles. Many farmers in the Tennessee Valley region of North Alabama have used many of our research accomplishments from this CRIS. Conservation tillage is now 'THE CONVENTIONAL' farming system in this region with farmers using conservation strategies including non-inversion fall tillage and cover crops. Information on management of high-residue producing conservation tillage systems and managing soil compaction in conservation tillage systems was transferred through field days, commodity tours, speaking engagements, and popular press articles. A patent application was submitted to the U.S. Patent Office for a cover crop roller that significantly reduced the amount of vibration currently exhibited by cover crop rollers. This reduction in vibration assists in allowing producers to increases their field speed to speeds similar to their replaced spraying operations. Field tests were conducted and results showed improvements over current models. A new version of a cover crop roller that allows for full adjustment of the crimping pressure and its frequency is being tested and compared to current versions. 7. List your most important publications in the popular press and presentations to organizations and articles written about your work. Popular publications David Elstein. Sewing the Soil: A Quicker Way to Measure Soil Compaction. ARS Daily Feed. Sept., 2003. David Elstein. Sewing things up, soilwise. Agricultural Research. February, 2004. David Elstein. Measuring soil compaction getting easier. Southeast Farm Press Online. Sept. 30, 2003. Stephanie vL Henkel. Soil spills its secrets to OMIS. Sensors Magazine. Dec., 2003. Stephanie vL Henkel. Soil spills its secrets to OMIS. Sensors Online. Dec., 2003. Darrell Smith. Focus on Compaction. Farm Journal. Mid-February, 2004. Darrell Smith. Focus on Compaction. AgWeb. February, 2004. Connie Smith. Soil Compaction Device Could Save Time and Fuel. Farmer Cooperative web sites including www.rivervalleycoop.com, www. farmersranchers.coop, www.fcajackson.com and others. March, 2004. David Elstein. Lowering CO2 Loss in Fall Tillage. Agricultural Research. March, 2004. David Elstein. Lowering CO2 Loss in Fall Tillage. ARS Daily Feed. March, 2004. David Elstein. Lowering CO2 Loss in Fall Tillage. Cattlenetwork.com. March, 2004. Carl C. Stafford. Avoid Soil Compaction By Adjusting Tire Pressure. No- Till Farmer. August, 2004. Jamie Creamer. Farming with Precision. Ag Illustrated. August, 2004. Darrell Smith. Timing is Everything. Farm Journal. Spring, 2004. Darrell Smith. Timing is Everything. AgWeb. Spring, 2004. USDA-NRCS Soil Quality Institute. Sod-Based Rotations: A Proven Old Practice to Improve Soil Productivity. Technical Note #18. May, 2004. Presentations Water use efficiency in conservation systems. Soil and Water Conservation Society, Alabama Chapter, Opelika, AL. June 2004. Research program of the Conservation Tillage Systems Research Team in Auburn, AL. Sunbelt Expo. Moultrie, GA. Oct. 2003. Conservation Systems Research at the USDA-ARS-NSDL. Alabama Farmers Federation, Mongomery, AL. Dec. 2004. Traffic management and soil compaction. Alabama Crop management Association, Auburn, AL. Dec. 2004. Conservation Systems Research at the USDA-ARS-NSDL. NRCS New Employee Orientation, Auburn, AL. Dec. 2004. Management of cover crops in conservation tillage systems. 2004. National Conservation Tillage Cotton and Rice Conference. Tunica, MS. Jan. 2004. Site-specific tillage: in-row subsoiling. CCA/CEU Agronomic Seminar, Montgomery, AL. Jan. 2004. Traffic management: the basics of compaction. CCA/CEU Agronomic Seminar. Montgomery, AL. Jan. 2004. Using soil bins to design agricultural and military equipment. Tank Automotive Command (TACOM), Warren, MI. Jan. 2004. Measurement, management and minimizing soil compaction in no-till. Southwest Regional No-Till Conference, Greensburg, PA. Jan. 2004. Measurement, management and minimizing soil compaction in no-till. North Central Tillage Conference, Mill Hall, PA. Jan. 2004. Measurement, management and minimizing soil compaction in no-till. 2004 Corn, soybean, and Mid-Atlantic No-till Conference, Grantville, PA. Jan. 2004. Conservation Systems Research Review. CSREES Review, Auburn, AL. Feb. 2004. Weed control with rolled cover crops. Georgia Conservation Tillage Alliance Annual Sustainable Agriculture and Conservation Tillage School. Douglas, GA Feb. 2004 Measurement, management and minimizing soil compaction in conservation systems. Brookside Laboratories Winter Consultant Meeting, Louisville, KY. Feb. 2004. Conservation Systems Research Review. Alfa Commodity Review, Auburn, AL. Feb. 2004. NSDL Program Review. ARS 50th Anniversary Celebration, Auburn, AL, March 2004. Conservation Systems Research Review. Auburn High School Ecology Class, Auburn, AL. April 2004. Cover crop rollers: a new component of conservation tillage systems. Initiating and Sustaining Industrial Renaissance through Innovative Partnerships, AETAP, Auburn AL. April 2004. Cover crop rollers. Vegetable Production in Conservation Tillage, Georgia Conservation Tillage Alliance, Ashburn, GA. April 2004 Conservation Systems Research Review. Cotton Incorporated, Auburn, AL. June 2004. Covercrop and Weed Management in Strip-Tillage Peanuts and Cotton. Weed Management Field Day, Jay, FL. June 2004. Development of conservation systems for peanut and cotton production. Wiregrass Field Day, Headland, AL. Aug. 2004. Autosteer Technology and its benefits. Southern Alabama Precision Ag Tour, Headland, AL, Aug. 2004. Non-ARS Publications Kpomblekou-A and R.O Ankumah. 2002. Trace and Nontrace elements in broiler litter. Commun. Soil. Sci. Plant Anal. 33:1799-1811. Kpomblekou-A, K. and R.O. Ankumah. 2002. Decomposition of broiler litter in selected Alabama soils. Agron. Abstr., p. 247. Kpomblekou-A K, V.L. Dotson, and B. Bey. 2003. Fractions of phosphorus in broiler litter-amended soils and their potential role in surface water pollution. Alabama Water Resources Conference, Perdido Beach Resort, Orange Beach, AL, Sept. 3-5, 2003. Patents Raper, R.L. and H.E. Hall. Soil strength measurement for site-specific agriculture. U.S. Patent #6647799. Nov. 18, 2003.

Impacts
(N/A)

Publications

  • Raper, R.L., Reeves, D.W., Shaw, J.N., Van Santen, E., Mask, P.L. 2004. Site-specific tillage benefits on coastal plains soils. In: Proceedings of the 26th Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture, June 7-9, 2004, Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • Kornecki, T.S., Raper, R.L., Price, A.J. 2004. Effectiveness in terminating cover crops using different roller implements. In: Proceedings of the 26th Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture, June 7-9, 2004, Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • Raper, R.L., Schwab, E.B., Balkcom, K.S., Burmester, C.H., Reeves, D.W. 2004. Frequency of in-row subsoiling required for southeastern u.s. silt loam soils. American Society of Agricultural Engineers. ASAE Paper No. 041083. (Technical handout) August 1-4, 2004, St. Joseph, Minnesota. p. 12.
  • Tekeste, M.Z., Raper, R.L., Schwab, E.B. 2004. Effects of soil drying on soil cone penetration resistance for norfolk sandy loam soils. In: Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Precision Agriculture, July 25-28, 2004, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • Raper, R.L. 2003. Tractive element impacts on soil. American Society of Agronomy 2003 Meetings.
  • Terra, J.A., Reeves, D.W., Shaw, J.N., Raper, R.L., Van Santen, E., Mask, P.L. 2003. Conservation system and soil landscape unit impacts on corn and cotton yield variability [abstract].ASA-CSSA-SSSA 2003 Meeting. CDROM
  • Arriaga, F.J., Lowery, B. 2004. Soil physical properties and crop productivity of an eroded soil amended with cattle manure. Soil Science. 168(12):888-899.
  • Kornecki, T.S., Grigg, B.C., Fouss, J.L., Southwick Jr, L.M. 2004. Effectiveness of sugarcane residue and polyacrylamide in reducing soil erosion from quarter-drains under southern louisiana weather conditions. In: Proceedings of American Society of Agricultural Engineers, August 1-4, 2004, Ottawa, Canada.
  • Balkcom, K.S., Rowland, D., Lamb, M.C. 2004. Cotton yields in conventional and conservation tillage systems under different irrigation levels. National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference. [CD-ROM].
  • Balkcom, K.S., D.W. Reeves, J.M. Kemble, R.A. Dawkins. 2004. Winter annual grazing and tillage system effects on sweet corn. p. 205-208. In D.L. Jordan and D.F. Caldwell (ed.) Proc. 26th Southern Conser. Tillage Conf. Sustainable Agric., Raleigh, NC. 8-9 June 2004. North Carolina Agric. Res. Serv. Tech. Bull. No. TB-321. (Conference Proceedings).
  • Raper, R.L., E.B. Schwab, C.H. Burmester, D.W. Reeves, and K.S. Balkcom. Minimum subsoiling frequency for conservation systems in the Tennessee Valley. p. 904-907. In D.F. Richter (ed.) Proc. 2004 Beltwide Cotton Conf., San Antonio, TX. 5-9 Jan. 2004. Natl. Cotton Counc. of Am., Memphis, TN. (Conference Proceedings)
  • Balkcom, K.S., Rowland, D. 2003. Peanut yields in conventional and conservation tillage systems under different irrigation levels. In Annual Meetings Abstracts [CD-ROM]. ASA, CSSA, and SSSA, Madison, WI.
  • Balkcom, K.S., Reeves, D.W. 2004. Sunn hemp as a cover crop and nitrogen source for corn. American Society of Agronomy Branch Meeting. [CD-ROM]
  • Raper, R.L., Grift, T.E., Tekeste, M.Z. 2002. A portable tillage profiler for measuring subsoiling effectiveness. ASAE Paper No. 02-1138. ASAE, St. Joseph, MI. 10 pp. (Technical handout).


Progress 10/01/02 to 09/30/03

Outputs
1. What major problem or issue is being resolved and how are you resolving it? The number of acres and the percentage of total acres in the U.S. planted in conservation tillage have declined since 1998 according to the Conservation Tillage Information Center (C.T.I.C., 2002). Only 37% of all U.S. crop land is planted using technology which leaves at least 30% residue cover on the soil surface. The Southeast has a somewhat higher conservation tillage adoption rate of 42.5% which has increased substantially from only 25% in 2000. Much of this improvement can be attributed to research and technology transfer efforts being conducted in the region. Conservation tillage and development of intensive farming systems to maximize carbon storage on degraded soils in the Southeast can significantly contribute to mitigation of greenhouse gas effects, and thus help achieve the goals of the recent Kyoto Protocol. More importantly, NSDL research has already shown that soil-specific conservation systems can improve the profitability of Southeastern farms, mainly by increasing soil water storage and availability to crops during periods of short-term drought common in the region. The complexity of developing and managing economically viable, ecologically adapted, and environmentally sound production systems requires a multi-disciplinary field research approach. Research to solve the problem includes developing alternative crops and production systems; integrating system components and operative windows; developing practical systems and tools that reduce risks from use of cover crops and high residue rotations; integrating residue management and other soil management practices to reduce soil compaction, increase plant available water, reducing risks and inputs for weed control in conservation systems, increasing use and diversity of crop rotations, improving nutrient use efficiencies of inorganic and organic nutrient sources, and developing rapid soil quality assessment tools for use in management decisions and evaluating the economics of their use. The research task is not complete until the information is effectively delivered to the customers and stakeholders. 2. How serious is the problem? Why does it matter? Especially critical is the lack of conservation tillage in cotton production. There is great variation among states in adoption of conservation tillage for cotton. Alabama is a leader, with over 60% of the crop in conservation tillage. However, in the Conservation Technology Information Center (C.T.I.C.) Southern Region, only 19 % of the cotton (some 2.4 million acres) was grown using no-tillage or strip tillage in 2002. This is a major problem because more than 25% of this cotton is grown on highly erodible land, and most cotton land is degraded from loss of soil carbon and physical degradation. Even worse is that much of the cotton grown with conservation tillage does not use a rotation system or cover crops to produce carbon inputs that exceed the carbon oxidation rate. Agronomically and environmentally sound conservation practices will not be adopted if not practical and economically viable. Thus, alternative conservation systems need to be developed that reduce economic risks for the producer but are practical from the point of component integration and adoption. Farm profitability on degraded soils is marginal throughout the Southeast. The low productive potential of many of these soils, coupled with recent poor crop prices and severe droughts in 1998, 1999, and 2000, and 2002 has placed many farmers in an untenable position. Cropping and soil management systems are needed that increase soil quality and productive potential of these soils while decreasing inputs and increasing net returns. 3. How does it relate to the National Program(s) and National Program Component(s) to which it has been assigned? National Program 202, Soil Resource Management (70%); National Program 207, Integrated Agricultural Systems (30%) This research is targeted towards assisting farmers to protect their soil and increase usage of conservation practices to improve economic and environmental sustainability. It is primarily aligned with NP 202; Components include: Component I. Soil Conservation and Restoration- Problem Areas 2. Compaction, and 3. Remediation and Restoration; Component II. Nutrient Management- Problem Areas 1. Management of Nutrients for Sustainable Production Systems, and 4. Management Effects on Soil Carbon, Soil Properties, and Their Interactions; Component III. Soil Water - Problem Areas 2. Soil Water Availability; and Component V.- Productive and Sustainable Soil Management Systems - Problem Areas 1. Developing Sustainable Soil Management Systems, and 3. Using Soil Quality to Assess Sustainable Land Management. Within the scope of soil management, it also is aligned with NP 207 Component III. Development of Integrated Agricultural Systems and Component IV. Decision Support Systems. This research seeks to improve our understanding of how conservation tillage, crop rotation, cover crops and residue management affect carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling and fertilization requirements, and will result in improved management systems and decision aids. The research also seeks to improve our understanding of soil quality indicators and productivity relationships on a site-specific nature. These relationships will be used to develop decision aids for soil management by soil map units and/or smaller scale (more precise) management units. Finally, the information will be used to increase resource-based profitability by increasing soil productivity and reducing costs from unnecessary inputs. 4. What were the most significant accomplishments this past year? Single Most Significant Accomplishment Many producers need additional scientific information before they are willing to adopt conservation tillage systems which conserve natural resources and maximize use of available soil water. New research funding targeted toward developing conservation systems for degraded soil resource areas was allocated to the Conservation Systems Research CRIS at the USDA-ARS National Soil Dynamics Laboratory which has allowed four scientific vacancies to be created and filled during this past year. The multidisciplinary research team assembled in the Conservation Systems Research CRIS now includes two agricultural engineers, a weed scientist, a research agronomist, a soil scientist, and an agricultural economist, with the latter position having not yet been filled. Research accomplishments of this team should enable producers who farm severely degraded Southeastern soils to have the capability of selecting conservation tillage practices which conserve soil, water, and energy resources while maintaining or improving crop yields. Other Significant Accomplishments Cover crop use in conservation tillage systems is increasing; growers are looking for effective ways to manage cover crops while reducing input costs. In cooperation with the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, we developed a roller-crimper to effectively and economically kill cover crops in conservation tillage systems. The roller design has been improved, and there has been intense interest by producers in this equipment. A patent application is being prepared based on expanded research that has been conducted on this implement to reduce vibration associated with the passage of the blades over the cover crop. Information regarding the roller-crimper continues to be frequently requested by Cooperative Extension, NRCS, and producers, and continues to be featured in numerous popular press articles. Soil erosion from continuous cotton cropping and governmental regulations forced many cotton producers in the Tennessee River Valley of northern Alabama to try no-tillage in the early 1990=s, but yield reductions prevented widespread adoption of this beneficial system. We, partnering with Auburn University and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station (AAES), Alabama Cooperative Extension Service (ACES) and USDA- NRCS, have rapidly transferred information to growers, consultants, extension agents, and NRCS staff, resulting in adoption rates of conservation tillage exceeding 70 to 80% in the largest cotton producing counties in the region (over 120,000 acres of conservation tillage cotton) . Working with researchers from the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, and specialists with NRCS, as well as private sector agribusiness, we have expanded research to include improved nitrogen management, improved irrigation efficiency, evaluation of site-specific technologies, and evaluation of controlled traffic systems resulting from automatic tractor steering in high-residue conservation systems in the Tennessee Valley. Farmers using conservation tillage systems in soils that are susceptible to compaction may need to perform in-row tillage prior to planting to reduce the effects of soil compaction. However, to receive the full benefits of their conservation tillage system, the crop residue should be minimally disturbed. A portable tillage profiler (PTP) using a laser scanner has been developed that allows field evaluations of aboveground and belowground tillage disruption to be obtained. An experiment was conducted to determine the best shanks for conservation tillage systems based on the following criteria: minimally disturbing soil on the soil surface, maximally disturbing the soil profile, and requiring minimal amounts of tillage energy. Two bentleg shanks from different manufacturers were found to excel at all of these criteria. Producers who need to reduce soil compaction problems in their conservation tillage systems could use either of these shanks and receive the maximum benefits for the crop rooting systems while protecting the environment. Following on the heels of the extremely successful 25th Southern Conservation Tillage for Sustainable Agriculture Conference and Field Day which was held at Auburn University and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station's E.V. Smith Research and Education Center on June 24- 26, 2002 which welcomed more than 500 attendees, we have intensified our technology transfer efforts to enable our research efforts to be quickly adopted by our customers. A Technology Transfer Specialist, which is supplied to the parent CRIS by Auburn University under a Specific Cooperative Agreement, coordinates our technology transfer program by creating fact sheets of our important research discoveries, maintaining the Conservation Systems Research web page (msa.ars.usda. gov/al/auburn/nsdl/csr), coordinating displays and representing the Conservation Systems Research CRIS at producer field days held in the Southeast, and in general by assisting the scientists to quickly transfer their scientific research results into forms accessible to our customers. Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations We funded a Specific Cooperative Agreement with Tuskegee University to work with limited-resource vegetable growers selected from within the Black Belt or Prairie soil region of Alabama to: 1)develop vegetable cropping systems that increase soil organic carbon and improve efficiency of organic nitrogen applications; reduce soil compaction; and reduce nutrient and soil losses through runoff; 2)network with limited-resource farmers to improve their access to agronomic information; and 3)provide technical and analytical support for sustainable soil management to limited-resource vegetable producers. This project was implemented on two producers' farms this year with the first year's results not yet having been obtained. 5. Describe the major accomplishments over the life of the project, including their predicted or actual impact. This is the third annual report for CRIS 6420-12610-002-00D, which is a continuation of the previous CRIS project 6420-12000-005-00D, and transition-interim CRIS 6420-12130-005-00D with expanded resources. The previous CRIS developed a conservation cropping system for the Tennessee Valley region that included practices of non-inversion fall tillage to alleviate problems of soil compaction and a rye cover crop to reduce soil compaction, reduce weed pressure and conserve soil moisture during periods of drought stress. Additionally, this CRIS found that the depth of root-impeding soil compaction and tillage to the appropriate depth reduced soil strength in the rooting zone and increased cotton yields. Tillage deeper than necessary wasted draft energy and promoted future soil compaction while excessively shallow tillage did not eliminate the soil compaction problem. Due in large part to this research, up to 70% of the region now uses some variation of this conservation system. 6. What do you expect to accomplish, year by year, over the next 3 years? This CRIS, 6420-12610-002-00D, Conservation Production Systems for Improved Profitability and Soil Quality, was formed in FY 2001 as a result of a Customer Focus Group Input Meeting held February 4, 1999. Specifically the goals of the CRIS are: increase adoption of conservation systems, especially in the Southeast; improve profitability and reduce economic risks of existing farming systems by enhancing carbon storage, increase plant available water and soil productivity and quality; and develop new production systems that are more profitable, less risky, store more carbon, and improve soil quality and productivity. Anticipated accomplishments for FY 2004-2006 include: 2004 Finalize research on frequency of tillage needed to eradicate compacted soil layers in Tennessee Valley soils and Coastal Plain soils. Preliminary recommendations will be presented to farmer groups on whether annual tillage is necessary for these Southeastern soils. Summarize research on the nitrogen contribution of peanut residue from laboratory incubations. Results of this research will be transferred to the American public through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize research on soil erosion research with using Polyacrylamide with different residue management in southern US Region. Results of this research will be transferred to the American public through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize data evaluating Envoke herbicide in reduced tillage systems and present data to producer groups and crop protection industry. Summarize research on site-specific tillage concept which was evaluated in Coastal Plains soils. Results of this research will be first transferred to our CRADA partner and then to the American public through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize research on the development and testing of a cone penetrometer that acquires penetration force and soil water content data simultaneously. Results will be transferred through presentations and pertinent tech transfer documents. Summarize research on the use of a laser light scattering procedure to determine soil particle size distribution and how it compares to the pipette method. Results of this research will be first transferred to our CRADA partner and then to the American public through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Develop recommendations for integrated row crop-livestock production systems with winter annual grazing of stocker cattle that improves soil quality and increases profitability. Develop recommendations for planter seed furrow closing devices in heavy residue conservation systems based on soil type. Develop recommendations for irrigation requirements for cotton on silt loam soils as impacted by tillage system. 2005 Summarize weed seed emergence model research and present results to producer groups and crop protection industry. Summarize weed seedbanks in Alabama's old rotations research and present results to producer groups and crop protection industry. Summarize and communicate to growers the effect peanut residues have on nitrogen requirements of cotton in conservation tillage systems. Results of this research will be transferred to the American public through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize and communicate to producers on the long-term impacts no-till versus conventional tillage systems have on soil moisture retention, water infiltration, hydraulic conductivity, soil carbon, and bulk density. Results will be transferred through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize research on benefits of automatic steering systems for improving peanut harvesting efficiency. Results of this research will be transferred to the American public through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize and communicate results of the efficacy of in-furrow cotton nematicide treatments within different tillage systems. Results of this research will be transferred to the American public through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents Summarize research on frequency of tillage needed to eradicate compacted soil layers in Tennessee Valley soils and Coastal Plain soils. Results of this research will be transferred to the American public through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Develop planting date recommendations based on historical rainfall data, including total amount and timing, in an effort to ameliorate short-term drought effects on crop yield. Develop decision aides and information for producers and consultants to manage field scale variation of chemical and physical soil quality indicators, in relation to profitability (inputs vs. returns). 2006 Develop a winter cover crop recommendation guide that targets suppression of individual or complexes of weed species within cropping systems. Summarize research and communicate to growers conservation tillage practices for central Alabama cotton production that will improve organic matter levels and alleviate shallow hardpans. Results of this research will be transferred to the American public through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize weed seed emergence under various cover cropping systems research and present results to producer groups and crop protection industry. Summarize research on crop rotations that include cover crops as a way to reduce the effects of short-term droughts on crop production. Results will be transferred through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize velvetbean-cotton intercropping system research and present results to producer groups and crop protection industry. Summarize research and communicate to growers optimal plant populations and row spacing for conservation tillage corn production in Alabama. Results of this research will be transferred to the American public through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize research on roller development and the best roller design to terminate cover crops. Results of this research will be transferred to the American public through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize research and make presentations to industry and farmer groups on improved shank design to disrupt hardpan soils. Results of this research will be transferred to the American public through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. Summarize research designed to determine how closely vehicle traffic can come to rows without detrimentally compacting them. Results of this research will be transferred to the American public through presentations and appropriate tech transfer documents. 7. What science and/or technologies have been transferred and to whom? When is the science and/or technology likely to become available to the end- user (industry, farmer, other scientists)? What are the constraints, if known, to the adoption and durability of the technology products? A CRADA is being concluded in Fall of 2003 concerning site-specific tillage. This CRADA has been in place for 4 years and results have concluded that site-specific tillage is a viable concept that reduces energy requirements while maintaining both corn and cotton yields. Producers and industry groups have been interested in the results of this study with several presentations and popular press articles resulting. The use of automatic steering systems for tractors has been a popular item that many producers have expressed interest in. The benefits of this technology for controlled traffic which limits soil compaction has prompted several producers to install these systems. Experiments are now underway which will evaluate the necessary accuracy for this technology that will enable users to continue to traffic row middles without compaction propagating into the row areas. Several presentations and popular press articles have already resulted from this research. Many producers and industry representatives have expressed interest in publications relating to measurement and management of soil compaction. Publications relating to the development of our multiple-probe soil cone penetrometer system which is used to measure the depth and degree of soil compaction are frequently requested. Management of vehicle traffic and the use of cover crops for reducing the damaging effects of soil compaction are also frequently requested topics of presentations, popular press articles, and producer questions. Information on the conservation cropping system developed for cotton grown in the Tennessee Valley region CONTINUES to be widely transferred through field days, commodity tours, speaking engagements, and popular press articles. Many farmers in the Tennessee Valley region of North Alabama have used many of our research accomplishments from this particular CRIS. Conservation tillage is now a common farming system in this region with farmers using conservation strategies including non- inversion fall tillage and cover crops. Information on management of high-residue producing conservation tillage systems and managing soil compaction in conservation tillage systems was transferred through field days, commodity tours, speaking engagements, and popular press articles (see list of presentations and press articles). A patent application has been submitted for a method of sensing on-the-go depth and compaction of hardpan layers in soils. This method has the distinct advantage of using a single force sensor to measure compaction at several depths and could easily be coupled with other technologies to measure other soil properties. This method should enable this time- consuming process of establishing the depth of soil compaction within a field to be conducted within a fraction of the time that is currently necessary. A patent application is being prepared for a cover crop roller that significantly reduces the amount of vibration currently exhibited by cover crop rollers. Field tests are continuing to evaluate the effectiveness of improved versions. 8. List your most important publications in the popular press and presentations to organizations and articles written about your work. (NOTE: This does not replace your peer-reviewed publications listed below). Popular publications Charles Johnson. Life of the soil. The Furrow. March 2003. Donna Sandusky. Farming smarter. Southern Farmer. January 2003. Donna Sandusky. Steering from space. Southern Farmer. January 2003. AgWeb Editors. Conservation tillage gives record yields. Farm Journal. May 2003. David Elstein. ARS improves yields in 100-year old experiment. Agricultural Research. May 2003. Anonymous. ME students assist USDA-ARS with roller design. Auburn Messenger. December 2002. Larry Reichenberger. Searching for cover. The Furrow. March 2003. Charles Johnson. Residue for real returns. The Furrow. November 2002. USDA-NRCS Soil Quality Institute. The knife roller (crimper): an alternative kill method for cover crops. Technical Note No. 13. September 2002. USDA-NRCS Soil Quality Institute. Improving soil quality on the Southern Coastal Plain: one farmers experience. Technical Note No. 14. October 2002. USDA-NRCS Soil Quality Institute. Soil compaction: detection, prevention, and alleviation. Technical Note No. 17. June 2003. Presentations Benefits of automatic steering systems for conservation tillage systems. Georgia Extension Agent Training, Griffin, GA. October 2002. Research program of the Conservation Tillage Systems Research Team in Auburn, AL. Sunbelt Expo. Moultrie, GA. October 2002. Soil compaction effects on crop production, rainfall infiltration, and soil erosion. Auburn High School Science Class, Auburn, AL. October 2002. Conservation systems research at the USDA-ARS-NSDL. Alabama Farmers Federation, Montgomery, AL. December 2002. Steering your tractor from space: Potential soil management benefits of autosteer technology. CCA/CEU Agronomic Seminar. Montgomery, AL. January 2003. Using new technology to reduce soil compaction. CCA/CEU Agronomic Seminar. Montgomery, AL. January 2003. Conservation systems research at the USDA-ARS-NSDL. Alabama Wheat and Feed Grain Growers Association. Montgomery, AL. February 2003. Conservation systems research at the USDA-ARS-NSDL. Alabama Crop Management Association, Auburn, AL. February 2003. Site-specific subsoiling: using new technologies to reduce soil compaction. Agricultural Equipment Technology Conference, Louisville, KY. February 2003. Conservation tillage for cotton in the Southeast: a research update. Wiregrass Cotton Expo, Dothan, AL. February 2003. Site-specific subsoiling: using new technologies to reduce soil compaction. Ohio Conservation Tillage Conference, Ada, OH. March 2003. Soil compaction effects on crop production, rainfall infiltration, and soil erosion. Ohio Conservation Tillage Conference, Ada, OH. March 2003. Soil compaction: measurement, management, and minimization. Virginia Compaction Workshop, Montezuma, VA. March 2003. Soil compaction: measurement, management, and minimization. Virginia Compaction Workshop, Weyers Cave, VA. March 2003. Site-specific subsoiling: using new technologies to reduce soil compaction. Farm Equipment Manufacturers' Association Meeting, Panama City, FL. March 2003. Conservation production systems for improved profitability and soil quality. Conservation Tillage Information Center Presentation, Auburn, AL. April 2003. Conservation systems research at the USDA-ARS-NSDL. Alabama Extension Agent Training, Greenville, AL. May 2003. Soil compaction management and amelioration (and other things!). USDA- NRCS Residue Management Meeting, Omaha, NE. May 2003. Conservation systems research at the USDA-ARS-NSDL. Alabama Association of Conservation Districts - Conservation Practices and Research Committee Annual Meeting, Fairhope, AL. July 2003. Nitrogen management in cover crops as affected by cover crops. Tennessee Valley Field Day, Belle Mina, AL. August 2003. Research program of the Conservation Tillage Systems Research Team. Tennessee Valley Field Day, Belle Mina, AL. August 2003. Using new technologies to manage soil compaction. East Alabama Cotton Tour, Shorter, AL. August 2003. Using new technologies to manage soil compaction. Wiregrass Experiment Station Field Day, Headland, AL. August 2003. Research program of the Conservation Tillage Systems Research Team. Wiregrass Experiment Station Field Day, Headland, AL. August 2003. Engineering a healthy soil environment for improved farm profitability. MSU Alumni Career and Research Day, Starkville, MS. September 2003.

Impacts
(N/A)

Publications

  • Raper, R.L. 2002. The influence of implement type and tillage depth on residue burial. Transactions Of The American Society Of Agricultural Engineers. 45 (5) 1281-1286.
  • Raper, R.L., Reeves, D.W., Shaw, J., Van Santen, E., Mask, P., Grift, T.E. 2003. Effect of site-specific tillage on draft requirements and cotton yield. Proceedings of the 2003 Beltwide Cotton Conference. Nashville, TN, Jan. 7-11. 5 pp.
  • Raper, R.L., Reeves, D.W., Shaw, J.N., Van Santen, E., Mask, P.L., Grift, T.E. 2003. Reducing draft requirements and maintaining crop yields with site-specific tilage. Proceedings of the 16th International Soil Tillage Research Organization Proceedings. Brisbane, Australia, July 14-19. 6 pp.
  • Terra, J.A., Reeves, D.W., Shaw, J.N., Raper, R.L., Van Santen, E., Mask, P.L. 2003. Soil management, terrain attributes and soil variability impacts on cotton yields. Proceedings of the 16th ISTRO Conference, Brisbane, Australia, July 14-19. 6 pp.
  • Siri-Prieto, G., Reeves, D.W., Raper, R.L. 2003. Conservation tillage systems for cotton and peanut following winter-annual grazing. Proceedings of the 16th ISTRO Conference, Brisbane, Australia, July 14-19. 6 pp.
  • Reiter, M.S., D.W. Reeves, C.H. Burmester. Nitrogen management for conservation-tilled cotton following a rye cover crop. Proceedings of the 16th ISTRO Conference. 2003. p. 977-982.
  • Raper, R.L., Simionescu, P.A., Kornecki, T.S., Price, A.J., Reeves, D.W. 2003. Cover crop rollers: a new component of conservation tillage systems. ASAE Paper No. 03-1020. ASAE, St. Joseph, MI. 11 pp. (Technical handout) 2003. See #159.
  • Price, A.J., J.W. Wilcut, and J.R. Cranmer. Physiological behavior of root absorbed flumioxaxin in peanut, ivyleaf morningglory, and sicklepod. Abstracts of the Weed Science Society of America 43:31 and Proceedings of the Southern Weed Science Society. 2003. v. 43. p. 31.
  • Price, A. J., P. A. Simionescu, T. S. Kornecki, R. L. Raper, D. W. Reeves. Improved roller technology for cover crop management. Proceedings of the 2nd World Congress on Conservation Research. 2003. p. 322-325.


Progress 10/01/01 to 09/30/02

Outputs
1. What major problem or issue is being resolved and how are you resolving it? Adoption of conservation tillage nationwide is dismal and the Southeast lags behind the rest of the nation in adoption of this environmentally sound practice. The latest (2000) Conservation Tillage Information Center (C.T.I.C.) figures show that conservation tillage is used on only 25% (17 million acres) of all the cropland in the Southeast. Conservation tillage and development of intensive farming systems to maximize carbon storage on degraded soils in the Southeast can significantly contribute to mitigation of greenhouse gas effects, and thus help achieve the goals of the recent Kyoto Protocol. More importantly, NSDL research has already shown that soil-specific conservation systems can improve the profitability of Southeastern farms, mainly by increasing soil water storage and availability to crops during periods of short-term drought common in the region. The complexity of developing and managing economically viable, ecologically adapted, and environmentally sound production systems requires a multi-disciplinary field research approach. Research to solve the problem includes developing alternative crops and production systems; integrating system components and operative windows; developing practical systems and tools that reduce risks from use of cover crops and high residue rotations; integrating residue management and other soil management practices to reduce soil compaction, increase plant available water, reducing risks and inputs for weed control in conservation systems, increasing use and diversity of crop rotations, improving nutrient use efficiencies of inorganic and organic nutrient sources, and developing rapid soil quality assessment tools for use in management decisions and evaluating the economics of their use. The research task is not complete until the information is effectively delivered to the customers and stakeholders. 2. How serious is the problem? Why does it matter? Especially critical is the lack of conservation tillage in cotton production. There is great variation among states in adoption of conservation tillage for cotton, Alabama is a leader, with over 60% of the crop in conservation tillage. However, in the Conservation Technology Information Center (C.T.I.C.)Southern Region, only 13 % of the cotton (some 1.9 million acres) was grown using no-tillage or strip tillage in 2000. This is a major problem because more than 25% of this cotton is grown on highly erodible land, and most cotton land is degraded from loss of soil carbon and physical degradation. Even worse is that much of the cotton grown with conservation tillage does not use a rotation system or cover crops to produce carbon inputs that exceed the carbon oxidation rate. Agronomically and environmentally sound conservation practices will not be adopted if not practical and economically viable. Thus, alternative conservation systems need to be developed that reduce economic risks of the producer but are practical from the point of component integration and adoption. Farm profitability on degraded soils is marginal throughout the Southeast. The low productive potential of many of these soils, coupled with recent poor crop prices and severe droughts in 1998, 1999, and 2000, and 2002 has placed many farmers in an untenable position. Cropping and soil management systems are needed that increase soil quality and productive potential of these soils while decreasing inputs and increasing net returns. 3. How does it relate to the national Program(s) and National Program Component(s) to which it has been assigned? National Program 202, Soil Resource Management (70%); National Program 207, Integrated Agricultural Systems (30%) This research is targeted towards assisting farmers to protect their soil and increase usage of conservation practices to improve economic and environmental sustainability. It is primarily aligned with NP 202; Components include: Component I. Soil Conservation and Restoration- Problem Areas 2. Compaction, and 3. Remediation and Restoration; Component II. Nutrient Management- Problem Areas 1. Management of Nutrients for Sustainable Production Systems, and 4. Management Effects on Soil Carbon, Soil Properties, and Their Interactions; Component III. Soil Water - Problem Areas 2. Soil Water Availability; and Component V.- Productive and Sustainable Soil Management Systems - Problem Areas 1. Developing Sustainable Soil Management Systems, and 3. Using Soil Quality to Assess Sustainable Land Management. Within the scope of soil management, it also is aligned with NP 207 Component III. Development of Integrated Agricultural Systems and Component IV. Decision Support Systems. This research seeks to improve our understanding of how conservation tillage, crop rotation, cover crops and residue management affect carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling and fertilization requirements, and will result in improved management systems and decision aids. The research also seeks to improve our understanding of soil quality indicators and productivity relationships on a site-specific nature. These relationships will be used to develop decision aids for soil management by soil map units and/or smaller scale (more precise) management units. Finally, the information will be used to increase resource-based profitability by increasing soil productivity and reducing costs from unnecessary inputs. 4. What was your most significant accomplishment this past year? A. Single Most Significant Accomplishment: We realized the 25th Southern Conservation Tillage for Sustainable Agriculture Conference and Field Day, at Auburn University and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station's E.V. Smith Research and Education Center, June 24-26, 2002. We had 300 conference registrants and 500 attendees at the Field Day. Media coverage included the July 5 issue of the Southeast Farm Press, with a circulation of 55,000, dedicated to the event and parent CRIS cooperative research efforts with the satellite CRIS. Attendees including producers, extension personnel, and industry representatives heard presentations dealing with benefits of using cover crops, site-specific technologies, and strip-tillage for protecting the soil and maximizing crop yields. Many positive reports were heard from the various attendees with most stating it was the best field day they had ever been to. We published 80 papers in a printed proceedings (a record for the conference) and distributed the conference proceedings from the past 25 years on a CD, which was distributed to NRCS and Extension offices, as well as attendees. The Technology Transfer Specialist supplied to the parent CRIS by Auburn University, under a Specific Cooperative Agreement, implemented and carried out the major responsibilities for the Conference. B. Other Significant Accomplishments: Soil erosion from continuous cotton cropping and governmental regulations forced many cotton producers in the Tennessee River Valley of northern Alabama to try no-tillage in the early 1990's, but yield reductions prevented widespread adoption of this beneficial system. We, partnering with Auburn University and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station (AAES), Alabama Cooperative Extension Service (ACES) and USDA- NRCS, have rapidly transferred information to growers, consultants, extension agents, and NRCS staff, resulting in adoption rates of conservation tillage exceeding 70 to 80% in the largest cotton producing counties in the region (over 120,000 acres of conservation tillage cotton) . Working with researchers from the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, and specialists with NRCS, as well as private sector agribusiness, we have expanded research to include improved nitrogen management and irrigation efficiency in high-residue conservation systems in the Tennessee Valley. Cover crop use in conservation tillage systems is increasing; growers are looking for effective ways to manage cover crops while reducing input costs. In cooperation with the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, we developed a roller-crimper to effectively and economically kill cover crops in conservation tillage systems. The roller design has been improved, and there has been intense interest by producers in this equipment. This information continues to be frequently requested by Cooperative Extension, NRCS, and producers, and continues to be featured in numerous popular press articles. An implement manufacturer, Kelly Manufacturing (KMC) in Tifton, GA has developed a commercial implement. Widely varying amounts of crop residue are left on the soil surface by implements simply because a great amount of variation exists in how these tillage implements are used. Several experiments were conducted to determine the effect of one of these parameters, tillage depth, on two widely used types of tillage implements: chisel-type and disc-type. We found that the depth of operation did not greatly affect the amount of residue left on the soil surface with chisel-type implements, but that disc-type implements buried a much larger amount of crop residue when operated at deeper depths. Producers and USDA-NRCS should be able to use the results of this research to select tillage implements and the depth at which they operate that will be more likely to leave large amounts of residue on the soil surface and prevent soil erosion. Compacted soil layers limit yield and reduce overall productivity of many Southeastern U.S. soils. Three Southeastern U.S. fields from Northern Mississippi were sampled with a multiple-probe soil cone penetrometer to determine the depth to the root-impeding layer that was found in these soils. We found that conventional tillage moved this layer significantly closer to the soil surface and that the effect of vehicle traffic in a no-till field was minimal except for reducing the variation in the root-restricting layer that is commonly found. Farmers that adopt conservation tillage systems may find reduced areas of their field being severely stressed in short periods of drought due to the increased depth of soil available for root growth and moisture retention. On-farm research evaluating electrical conductivity (EC) mapping with a VerisRG Technologies 3100 Soil EC Mapping System on a 45 acre field no- tilled to corn-wheat-soybean on Glenn Acres Farm in Hillsboro, AL (Don, Eugene, and Brian Glenn), along with Auburn University cooperators Paul Mask and Joey Shaw, was completed. Results were published in a doctoral thesis by Antonio Motta. Electrical conductivity mapping provided poor correlations to yield and soil quality indicators. C. Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations: We developed a Specific Cooperative Agreement with Tuskegee University to work with limited-resource vegetable growers selected from within the Black Belt or Prairie soil region of Alabama to: 1)develop vegetable cropping systems that increase soil organic carbon and improve efficiency of organic nitrogen applications; reduce soil compaction; and reduce nutrient and soil losses through runoff; 2)network with limited-resource farmers to improve their access to agronomic information; and 3)provide technical and analytical support for sustainable soil management to limited-resource vegetable producers. 5. Describe your major accomplishments over the life of the project, including their predicted or actual impact? This is the second annual report for CRIS 6420-12610-002-00D, which is a continuation of the previous CRIS project 6420-12000-005-00D, and transition-interim CRIS 6420-12130-005-00D with expanded resources. The previous CRIS developed a conservation cropping system for the Tennessee Valley region that included practices of non-inversion fall tillage to alleviate problems of soil compaction and a rye cover crop to reduce soil compaction, reduce weed pressure and conserve soil moisture during periods of drought stress. Additionally, this CRIS found that the depth of root-impeding soil compaction and tillage to the appropriate depth reduced soil strength in the rooting zone and increased cotton yields. Tillage deeper than necessary wasted draft energy and promoted future soil compaction while excessively shallow tillage did not eliminate the soil compaction problem. Due in large part to this research, up to 70% of the region now uses some variation of this conservation system. 6. What do you expect to accomplish, year by year, over the next 3 years? This CRIS, 6420-12610-002-00D, titled "Conservation Systems for Improved Profitability and Soil Quality" in FY 2001, was formed as a result of a Customer Focus Group Input Meeting held February 4, 1999. Specifically the goals of the CRIS are: increase adoption of conservation systems, especially in the Southeast; improve profitability and reduce economic risks of existing farming systems by enhancing carbon storage, plant available water and soil productivity and quality; and develop new production systems that are more profitable, less risky, store more carbon, and improve soil quality and productivity. Anticipated accomplishments for FY 2003-2005 include: 2003: Develop decision aides and information for producers and consultants to manage field scale variation of chemical and physical soil quality indicators, in relation to profitability (inputs vs. returns). Summarize research on intensive conservation cropping systems using ultra-narrow row cotton and develop comprehensive recommendations for systems to improve profitability and optimize soil carbon sequestration; including impact on soil quality indicators, productivity, and economic analyses of systems. Summarize and develop decision aides and information for improved management on nitrogen in high-residue conservation tillage systems for cotton in the Tennessee Valley. Summarize research and develop recommendations regarding the potential of brassica cover crops for increasing planting-date diversity and improving soil quality in conservation tillage systems. Finalize research on site-specific tillage to evaluate concept in Coastal Plains soils. Results of this research will be first transferred to our CRADA partner and then to the American public. Finalize research on frequency of tillage needed to eradicate compacted soil layers in Tennessee Valley soils and Coastal Plains soils. Preliminary recommendations will be presented to farmer groups on whether annual tillage is necessary for these Southeastern soils. Finalize development of a roller that is specially designed to minimize vibration and perform laboratory tests on its effectiveness. Perform research experiment evaluating improved shank design for subsoil disruption in soils prone to hardpan formation. Evaluate on-the-go soil strength measurement system developed at the NSDL in field situation. 2004: Develop recommendations for integrated row crop-livestock production systems with winter annual grazing of stocker cattle that improves soil quality and increases profitability. Develop recommendations for planter seed furrow closing devices in heavy residue conservation systems based on soil type. Develop recommendations for irrigation requirements for cotton on silt loam soils as impacted by tillage system. Summarize research and communicate to farmer groups the results of research designed to determine how closely vehicle traffic can come to rows without detrimentally compacting them. Summarize research on roller development and the best roller design to terminate cover crops and present to farmer groups. Summarize research on frequency of tillage needed to eradicate compacted soil layers in Tennessee Valley soils and Coastal Plains soils. Presentations will be made to farmer groups on the results of these studies. Conduct experiments in several locations to evaluate accuracy of on-the- go soil strength measurement system in various soil types. 2005: Summarize research and make presentations to industry and farmer groups on improved shank design to disrupt hardpan soils. Summarize on-the-go soil strength measurement system research and present results to producer groups and farm equipment industry. 7. What technologies have been transferred and to whom? When is the technology likely to become available to the end user (industry, farmer other scientist)? What are the constraints, if known, to the adoption durability of the technology? Information on the conservation cropping system developed cotton grown in the Tennessee Valley region CONTINUES to be widely transferred through field days, commodity tours, speaking engagements, and popular press articles. Many farmers in the Tennessee Valley region of North Alabama have used many of our research accomplishments from this particular CRIS. Conservation tillage is now a common farming system in this region with farmers using conservation strategies including non-inversion fall tillage and cover crops. A field day on June 26, 2002, held in conjunction with the 25th Southern Conservation Tillage Conference, which was co-hosted by the Conservation Systems Research Team at the NSDL and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, showcased the technologies that have been developed by our research. Five-hundred (500)attendees at the field day saw numerous presentations regarding the use of cover crops, strip-tillage, and GPS technologies to enhance residue retention on the soil surface, soil quality, and profitability. `SoilSaver' black oat, a new cover crop originating in Brazil, developed by the Conservation Systems Research CRIS, has been released the Alabama Crop Improvement Association and Auburn University. It is now commercially available from Plantation Seed Conditioners, Newton, GA. It is adapted to the lower Southeastern Coastal Plain. Information on management of high-residue producing conservation tillage systems and managing soil compaction in conservation tillage systems was transferred through field days, commodity tours, speaking engagements, and popular press articles (see list of presentations and press articles). Many requests for information on the multiple-probe soil cone penetrometer developed at the NSDL continue to be received. This device has been modified to incorporate the ability to measure soil moisture at the same time as soil strength is measured. In previous years, the multiple-probe soil cone penetrometer was featured in many magazine articles and has received tremendous interest from many farmers, consultants, and researchers as a method of quantifying the degree of soil compaction found within a particular field. A device has been developed to quantify the amount of belowground and aboveground soil disturbance caused by tillage. This device uses a laser- distance sensor that is moved across the disturbed soil zone. An experiment was conducted and the results presented to producer groups to evaluate differences in soil disturbance associated with the use of two subsoiling shanks operated in a Coastal plains soils at several moisture contents. A method of sensing the depth and compaction of hardpan layers in soils is being patented and several companies have contacted us asking for additional information. This method should enable this time-consuming process of establishing the depth of soil compaction within a field to be conducted within a fraction of the time that is currently necessary. 8. List your most important publications and presentations, and articles written about your work (NOTE: this does not replace your review publications which are listed below) Popular publications: Sandusky, D. Site-specific tillage. Alabama Farmer. January 2002. Karasov, C. Spare the Plow, Save the Soil. Environmental Health Perspectives. February 2002. v. 110(2). Sandusky, D. Site-specific tillage. Georgia Farmer. February 2002. Sandusky, D. Combat compaction. Alabama Farmer. 2002. Available at: www. farmprogress.com. Nordlie, T. Grass rotation- a sod based rotation system may help growers return to profitability. The Peanut Farmer. April 2002. p. 15. Mullen, M. Capturing carbon- with or without government payments, storing carbon makes sense. The Peanut Farmer. April 2002. p. 10-14. Mullen, M. Capturing carbon- with or without government payments, storing carbon makes sense. The Burley Tobacco Farmer. April 2002. p. 6-7. Nordlie, T. Rotation developed for cotton, peanuts. Southeast Farm Press. May 1, 2002. p. 16. Hollis, P. Conservation tillage benefits soils. Southeast Farm Press. June 5, 2002. p. 3-5. Hollis, P. Commentary- Conference to showcase conservation tillage research. Southeast Farm Press. June 5, 2002. p. 4. Sandusky, D. No-till Nemesis-on farm retrofit helps farmer combat 8-inch residue. Alabama Farmer. 2002. p. 10-12. Anonymous. Cover crop management and soil quality. Video. 2002. Auburn, AL: USDA-NRCS Soil Quality Institute. Presentations: Steering your tractor from space: Potential soil management benefits of autosteer technology. Sunbelt Expo. 2002. Research program of the Conservation Tillage Systems Research Team in Auburn, AL. Sunbelt Expo. Moultrie, GA. 2002. Tillage for 2001 and Beyond. Southern Regional Committee S-283. 2001. Research program of the Conservation Tillage Systems Research Team. Georgia Conservation Tillage Alliance. 2002. Current soil bin technology. Agricultural Machinery Conference. 2002. Carbon sequestration in soil management and plant rotation systems. II EMBRAPA Soja & APROSOJA-MERCOSOJA 2002 Congress. 2002. Soil quality impacts on productivity. International Symposium on Sustainability of Intensive Agricultural Systems. 2002. Carbon sequestration in soil management and plant rotation systems. Symposium on Sustainable Agriculture. 2002. Managing compaction through cover crops and tillage. Soils Boot Camp for South Texas. 2002. Steering your tractor from space: Potential benefits of autosteer technology for soil management. 25th Southern Conservation Tillage Field Day. 2002. Using new technology to reduce compaction in conservation tillage systems. 25th Southern Conservation Tillage Field Day. 2002. Managing high residue conservation tillage systems. 25th Southern Conservation Tillage Field Day. 2002. Conservation rotations for cotton. 25th Southern Conservation Tillage Field Day. 2002. Ultra-narrow row cotton management. 25th Southern Conservation Tillage Field Day. 2002. Cover crops for the future. 25th Southern Conservation Tillage Field Day. 2002. Nitrogen management in cover crops as affected by cover crops. 25th Southern Conservation Tillage Field Day. 2002. Conservation tillage and rainfall infiltration. 25th Southern Conservation Tillage Field Day. 2002. Soil management and landscape interactions for site-specific soil quality and crop yield. 25th Southern Conservation Tillage Field Day. 2002. Reducing compaction through conservation tillage management and controlled traffic. Alabama Association of Conservation Districts. 2002. High residue conservation tillage systems for cotton. 5th Annual National Conservation Tillage Cotton & Rice Conference. 2002. Managing cover crops and conservation tillage. University of Georgia, Cooperative Extension Service, Randolph County. 2002. High residue conservation tillage systems: managing cover crops and equipment needs. USDA-NRCS, Wilson County. 2002. Cover crops- equipment. University of Georgia, Cooperative Extension Service, Pulaski County. 2002. Successful sustainable farming practices for crops and livestock. Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Conference- Alabama Land Grant Alliance. 2002. Economics of cover crops. University of Georgia, Cooperative Extension Service, Coffee County. 2002. High residue conservation tillage systems for cotton. Wiregrass Cotton Expo. 2002. Making conservation tillage conventional. 2002 Alabama Farmers Federation (ALFA) Commodity Conference. 2002. Conservation tillage and soil quality. 10th Annual National No-tillage Conference. 2002. Conservation tillage and economics. Auburn University, Cooperative Extension Service, Autauga & Elmore Counties. 2002. Nutrient management helps conservation tillage work. Georgia Plant Food Education Society. 2002. Cotton nutrient management in conservation tillage systems. ASA CCA Training, Honeywell (Allied Chemical). 2001. Equipment for managing cover crops. Auburn University, Cooperative Extension Service, Wiregrass Conservation Tillage Demonstration. 2002. Research overview of Conservation Systems Research Team. 8th Annual Meeting of Georgia Conservation Tillage Alliance. 2002. Tillage requirements for vegetables following winter-annual grazing. Alabama Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association, 22nd Annual Meeting and Alabama Pumpkin Association, 4th Annual Workshop. 2001. Benefits and management of high-residue conservation systems. USDA-NRCS, Greenville, NC, `Cover the Land' Conservation Tillage Conference. 2002. Raper, R.L., Grift, T.E.. Land laser: alternative measuring device records tillage effects. Resource Magazine. April 2002.

Impacts
(N/A)

Publications

  • Reeves, D.W. High residue conservation tillage systems for cotton. Proceedings 5th Annual National Conservation Tillage Cotton & Rice Conference. 2002. p. 18-19.
  • Schwab, E.B., Reeves, D.W., Burmester, C.H., Raper, R.L. Conservation tillage systems for cotton grown on a silt loam soil in the Tennessee Valley. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 2002. v. 66. p. 569-577.
  • Raper, R.L., Sharma, A.K. Energy requirements and soil disruption of subsoiling. Proceedings of the 2002 Beltwide Cotton Conference. 2002. Available from: http://www.cotton.org/beltwide/proceedings/2002/abstracts/
  • Tekeste, M.Z., Grift, T.E., Raper, R.L. Acoustic compaction layer detection. 2002. American Society of Agricultural Engineers. Paper No. 02- 1089.
  • Grift, T.E., Tekeste, M.Z., Raper, R.L. Resounding soils: AAES and ARS researchers exploring acoustic compaction layer detection. Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station Highlights of Agricultural Research. 2002. v. 48(4). Available from: http://www.ag.auburn. edu/resinfo/highlightsonline/winter01/grift.html.
  • Raper, R.L., Sharma, A.K. Using soil moisture to determine when to subsoil. 2002. Proceedings of the 25th Annual Southern Conservation Tillage for Sustainable Agriculture. Auburn University, Auburn, AL. p. 404-409.
  • Raper, R.L., Grift, T.E., Tekeste, M.Z. A portable tillage profiler for measuring subsoiling effectiveness. 2002. American Society of Agricultural Engineers. Paper No. 02-1138.
  • Raper, R.L. Force requirements and soil disruption of straight and bentleg subsoilers for conservation tillage systems. 2002. American Society of Agricultural Engineers. Paper No. 02-1139.
  • Moss, B.R., Reeves, D.W., Lin, J.C., Torbert, H.A., McElhenney, W.H., Mask, P., Kezar, W. Yield and quality of three corn hybrids as affected by broiler litter fertilization and crop maturity. Animal Feed Science and Technology. 2001. v. 94(1-2). p. 43-56.
  • Motta, A. C. V., Reeves, D.W., Touchton, J.T. Tillage intensity effects on chemical indicators of soil quality in two coastal plain soils. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis. 2002. v. 33(5-6). p. 913-932.
  • Motta, A.C.V., Reeves, D.W., Feng, Y., Burmester, C.H., Raper, R.L. Management systems to improve soil quality for cotton production on a degraded silt loam soil in Alabama (USA). Proceedings of 1st World Congress on Conservation Agriculture--Conservation Agriculture, A Worldwide Challenge. 2001. v. II. p. 219-222.
  • Reeves, D.W. Soil management in the sub-tropical region of the United States of America. Anals of 1st Seminario Internacional Sobre Plantio Direto Nos Tropicos Sul-Americanos. 2001. p. 19-21.
  • Reeves, D. W. Carbon sequestration in soil management and plant rotation systems. Anals II Congresso Brasileiro de Soja - Mercosoja 2002, Perspectivas do Agronegocio da Soja. 2002. p. 131-137.
  • Ashford, D., Wayne Reeves, D.W. Rolling and crimping-scientists study alternative cover crop kill method. Highlights On-Line. 2002. Available from: http://www.ag.auburn.edu/resinfo/highlightsonline/fall01/fall- ashford.html.
  • Mitchell, C., Reeves, D.W., Delaney, D. Breaking records-sensible management helps Alabama's long-term experiments net record yields. Highlights On-Line. 2002. Available from: http://www.ag.auburn. edu/resinfo/highlightsonline/fall01/ fall-mitchell.html.
  • Reeves, D. W. Successful sustainable farming practices for crops and livestock production. Proceedings Sustainable Agriculture in Alabama Symposium. 2002. p. 12-13.
  • Reeves, D. W., Mullins, G.L. Potassium requirements of ultra narrow and conventionally spaced cotton as affected by tillage. Proceedings Beltwide Cotton Conference. 2002. Available from: http://www.cotton. org/beltwide/proceedings/2002/abstracts/K012.cfm.
  • Kochapakdee, S., Moss, B.R., Lin, J., Reeves, D.W., McElhenney, W.H., Mask, P., van Santen, E. Evaluation of white lupin (Lupinus albus L.) temperate corn (Zea mays L.), or hybrid pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum [L.] R. BR.) silage for lactating cows. Proceedings 10th International Lupin Conference - Wild and Cultivated Lupins from the Tropics to the Poles. 2002. Abstract p. 85.
  • Reeves, D.W. Adopting soil management lessons from Brazil to the sub- tropical region of the USA. Abstracts of the XXVIII Congresso Brasileiro de Ciencia do Solo- Ciencia do Solo: Fator de Produtividade Competitiva com Sustentabilidade. 2001. p. 245.
  • Delaney, D.P., Monks, C.D., Reeves, D.W., Durbin, R.M. Plant populations and planting dates for UNR cotton. Proceedings Beltwide Cotton Conference. 2002. Available from: http://www.cotton. org/beltwide/proceedings/2002/abstracts/K010.cfm.
  • van Santen, E., Reeves, D.W. The value of Lupinus albus L. cv. AU Homer as a winter cover crop for cotton. Proceedings 10th International Lupin Conference - Wild and Cultivated Lupins from the Tropics to the Poles. 2002. p. 152.
  • van Santen, E., Reeves, D.W. Tillage and rotation effects on lupin in double-cropping systems in the southeastern USA. Proceedings 10th International Lupin Conference - Wild and Cultivated Lupins from the Tropics to the Poles. 2002. p. 151.
  • Johnson, C.E., Burt, E.C., Morrison, J.E., Bailey, A.C. Bailey, Way, T.R. Energy reduction in sweep tillage systems. 2001. American Society of Agricultural Engineers. Paper No. 01-1057.
  • Burmester, C.H., Reeves D.W., Motta, A.C.V. Effect of crop rotation/tillage systems on cotton yield in the Tennessee Valley Area of Alabama, 1980-2001. Proceedings 25th Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture - Making Conservation Tillage Conventional: Building a Future on 25 Years of Research. Special Report No. 1, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and Auburn University. 2002. p. 354-357.
  • Fesha, I.G., Shaw, J.N., Reeves, D.W., Wood, C.E., Feng, Y., Norfleet, M.L. , van Santen, E. Land use effects on soil quality parameters for identical soil taxa. Proceedings 25th Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture - Making Conservation Tillage Conventional: Building a Future on 25 Years of Research. Special Report No. 1, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and Auburn University. 2002. p. 349-353.
  • Delaney, D.P., Reeves, D.W., Monks, C.D., Patterson, M.G., Mullins, G.L., Gamble, B.E. Cover crops and tillage combinations for wide and ultra narrow row cotton. Proceedings 25th Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture - Making Conservation Tillage Conventional: Building a Future on 25 Years of Research. Special Report No. 1, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and Auburn University. 2002. p. 369-370.
  • Lee, R.D., Reeves, D.W., Pippin, R., Walker, J. High-residue conservation systems for corn and cotton in Georgia. Proceedings 25th Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture - Making Conservation Tillage Conventional: Building a Future on 25 Years of Research. Special Report No. 1, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and Auburn University. 2002. p. 327-330.
  • Reeves, D.W., Delaney, D.P. Conservation Rotations for Cotton Production and Carbon Storage. Proceedings 25th Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture - Making Conservation Tillage Conventional: Building a Future on 25 Years of Research. Special Report No. 1, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and Auburn University. 2002. p. 344-348.
  • Parker, M.A., Nyakatawa, E.Z., Reddy, K.C., Reeves, D.W. Soil carbon and nitrogen as influenced by tillage and poultry litter in north Alabama. Proceedings 25th Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture - Making Conservation Tillage Conventional: Building a Future on 25 Years of Research. Special Report No. 1, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and Auburn University. 2002. p. 283-287.
  • Siri Prieto, G., Reeves, D.W., Shaw, J.N., Mitchell, C.C. Impact of conservation tillage on soil carbon in the `Old Rotation'. Proceedings 25th Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture - Making Conservation Tillage Conventional: Building a Future on 25 Years of Research. Special Report No. 1, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and Auburn University. 2002. p. 288-294.
  • Feng, Y., Motta, A.C., Burmester, C.H., Reeves, D.W., van Santen, E., Osborne, J.A. Effects of tillage systems on soil microbial community structure under a continuos cotton cropping system. Proceedings 25th Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture - Making Conservation Tillage Conventional: Building a Future on 25 Years of Research. Special Report No. 1, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and Auburn University. 2002. p. 222-226.
  • Runion, G.B., Prior, S.A., Reeves, D.W., Rogers, H.H., Reicosky, D.C., White, D.C. Microbial responses to wheel-traffic in conventional and no- tillage systems. Proceedings 25th Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture - Making Conservation Tillage Conventional: Building a Future on 25 Years of Research. Special Report No. 1, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and Auburn University. 2002. p. 227-232.
  • van Santen, C., Shaw, J.N., Reeves, D.W. Using the CENTURY model to simulate C dynamics in an intensively managed Alabama Ultisol. Proceedings 25th Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture - Making Conservation Tillage Conventional: Building a Future on 25 Years of Research. Special Report No. 1, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and Auburn University. 2002. p. 213-218.
  • Shaw, J.N., Reeves, D.W., Truman, C.C., Mitchell, P.A. Management effects on clay dispersibility of a Rhodic Paleudult in the Tennessee Valley region, Alabama. Proceedings 25th Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture - Making Conservation Tillage Conventional: Building a Future on 25 Years of Research. Special Report No. 1, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and Auburn University. 2002. p. 201-206.
  • Reiter, M.S., Reeves, D.W., Burmester, C.H. Nitrogen management for cotton in a high-residue cover crop conservation tillage system. Proceedings 25th Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture - Making Conservation Tillage Conventional: Building a Future on 25 Years of Research. Special Report No. 1, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and Auburn University. 2002. p. 136-141.
  • Mitchell, C.C., Reeves, D.W., Delaney, D. Conservation tillage in Alabama's "Old Rotation". Proceedings 25th Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture - Making Conservation Tillage Conventional: Building a Future on 25 Years of Research. Special Report No. 1, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and Auburn University. 2002. p. 30-35.
  • Truman, C.C., Reeves, D.W., Shaw, J.N., Burmester, C.H. Soil management effects on interfile erodibility of two Alabama soils. Proceedings 25th Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture - Making Conservation Tillage Conventional: Building a Future on 25 Years of Research. Special Report No. 1, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and Auburn University. 2002. p. 288-294.
  • Prior, S.A., Reeves, D.W., Delaney, D.P., Terra, J.F. Effects of conventional tillage and no-tillage on cotton gas exchange in standard and ultra-narrow row systems. Proceedings 25th Annual Southern Conservation Tillage Conference for Sustainable Agriculture - Making Conservation Tillage Conventional: Building a Future on 25 Years of Research. Special Report No. 1, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and Auburn University. 2002. p. 349-353.
  • Dabney, S.M., Douglas, J.L., Johnson, J.R., Reeves, D.W., Buehring, N.W., McGregor, K.C. Balansa clover: a reseeding legume cover crop for no-till systems. CD-ROM. Madison, WI.: ASA/CSSA/SSSA. Agronomy Abstracts. 2001.
  • Feng, Y., Motta, A.C.V., Burmester, C.H., Osborne, J.A., van Santen, E., Ji, P., Reeves, D.W. Tillage effects on soil microbial community composition in a continuous cotton system. CD-ROM. Madison, WI.: ASA/CSSA/SSSA. Agronomy Abstracts. 2001.
  • Reeves, D. W., Motta, A.C.V. Tillage impacts on nutrient availability. CD- ROM. Madison, WI.: ASA/CSSA/SSSA. Agronomy Abstracts. 2001.
  • Motta, A.C.V., Reeves, D.W. Management systems to improve soil quality for cotton production in the Tennessee Valley. CD-ROM. ASA/CSSA/SSSA. Agronomy Abstracts. 2001.
  • van Santen, E. Reeves, D.W. Cruciferous species are excellent cover crops for early-planted row crops. CD-ROM. Madison, WI.: ASA/CSSA/SSSA. Agronomy Abstracts. 2001.


Progress 10/01/00 to 09/30/01

Outputs
FITABILITY AND SOIL QUALITY 1. What major problem or issue is being resolved and how are you resolving it? Adoption of conservation tillage nationwide is dismal and the Southeast lags behind the rest of the nation in adoption of this environmentally sound practice. The latest (1998) Conservation Tillage Information Center (C.T.I.C.) figures show that conservation tillage is used on only 25% (17 million acres) of all the cropland in the Southeast. Conservation tillage and development of intensive farming systems to maximize carbon (C) storage on degraded soils in the Southeast can significantly contribute to mitigation of greenhouse gas effects, and thus help achieve the goals of the recent Kyoto Protocol. More importantly, NSDL research has already shown that soil-specific conservation systems can improve the profitability of Southeastern farms, mainly by increasing soil water storage and availability to crops during periods of short-term drought common in the region. The complexity of developing and managing economically viable, ecologically adapted, and environmentally sound production systems requires a multi-disciplinary field research approach. Research to solve the problem includes developing alternative crops and production systems; integrating system components and operative windows; developing practical systems and tools that reduce risks from use of cover crops and high residue rotations; integrating residue management and other soil management practices to reduce soil compaction, increase plant available water, reducing risks and inputs for weed control in conservation systems, increasing use and diversity of crop rotations, improving nutrient use efficiencies of inorganic and organic nutrient sources, and developing rapid soil quality assessment tools for use in management decisions and evaluating the economics of their use. The research task is not complete until the information is effectively delivered to the customers and stakeholders. 2. How serious is the problem? Why does it matter? Especially critical is the lack of conservation tillage in cotton production. In the NRCS Southeast Region, only 9.8 % of the cotton (some 4.4 million acres in 1998) is grown using no-tillage or strip tillage. This is a major problem because more than 25% of this cotton is grown on highly erodible land, and most cotton land is degraded from loss of soil carbon and physical degradation. Even worse is that much of the cotton grown with conservation tillage does not use a rotation system or cover crops to produce carbon inputs that exceed the carbon oxidation rate. Agronomically and environmentally sound conservation practices will not be adopted if not practical and economically viable. Thus, alternative conservation systems need to be developed that reduce economic risks of the producer but are practical from the point of component integration and adoption. Farm profitability on degraded soils is marginal throughout the Southeast. The low productive potential of many of these soils, coupled with recent poor crop prices and severe droughts in 1998, 1999, and 2000 has placed many farmers in an untenable position. Cropping and soil management systems are needed that increase soil quality and productive potential of these soils while decreasing inputs and increasing net returns. 3. How does it relate to the National Program(s) and National Component(s)? National Program 202, Soil Resource Management (70%); National Program 207, Integrated Agricultural Systems (30%) This research is targeted towards assisting farmers to protect their soil and increase usage of conservation practices to improve economic and environmental sustainability. It is primarily aligned with NP 202; Components include: Component I. Soil Conservation and Restoration- Problem Areas 2. Compaction, and 3. Remediation and Restoration; Component II. Nutrient Management- Problem Areas 1. Management of Nutrients for Sustainable Production Systems, and 4. Management Effects on Soil Carbon, Soil Properties, and Their Interactions; Component III. Soil Water - Problem Areas 2. Soil Water Availability; and Component V.- Productive and Sustainable Soil Management Systems - Problem Areas 1. Developing Sustainable Soil Management Systems, and 3. Using Soil Quality to Assess Sustainable Land Management. Within the scope of soil management, it also is aligned with NP 207 Component III. Development of Integrated Agricultural Systems and Component IV. Decision Support Systems. This research seeks to improve our understanding of how conservation tillage, crop rotation, cover crops and residue management affect carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling and fertilization requirements, and will result in improved management systems and decision aids. The research also seeks to improve our understanding of soil quality indicators and productivity relationships on a site- specific nature. These relationships will be used to develop decision aids for soil management by soil map units and/or smaller scale (more precise) management units. Finally, the information will be used to increase resource-based profitability by increasing soil productivity and reducing costs from unnecessary inputs. The project is collaborating with a Cooperative Research Agreement with USDA-NRCS through the NRCS Soil Quality Institute (SQI). This project has the goal of working with NRCS SQI to 1) develop methodologies for rapid assessment of soil properties and relationships to soil quality indicators and productivity, 2) improve understanding of spatial variability of soil chemical and physical properties in conservation systems at the field scale, including impact on carbon sequestration, and 3) develop decision aides and information for producers and consultants to determine necessary vs. unnecessary inputs and to maximize returns for required inputs in conservation production systems on silt loam and silty clay loam soils. 4. What were the most significant accomplishments this past year? Question 4 A: Soil erosion from continuous cotton cropping and governmental regulations forced many cotton producers in the Tennessee River Valley of northern Alabama to try no-tillage in the early 1990's, but yield reductions prevented widespread adoption of this beneficial system. Working with researchers from the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, and specialists with NRCS, as well as private sector agribusiness, we expanded research into the problem and increased information delivery to growers and outreach specialists. This information has been rapidly transferred to growers, consultants, extension agents, and NRCS staff, resulting in adoption rates of conservation tillage exceeding 70 to 80% in the largest cotton producing counties in the region (over 120,000 acres of conservation tillage cotton). Question 4 B: Cover crop use in conservation tillage systems is increasing; growers are looking for effective ways to manage cover crops while reducing input costs. In cooperation with the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, we evaluated the use of a roller, standard herbicides (glyphosate and paraquat), and combinations of roller and reduced herbicide rates to terminate three different cover crops (rye, wheat, and black oat) at three growth stages (flag leaf, flowering, and soft dough). Economically, the roller and the roller+herbicide (half rate) treatments provided a significant savings ($5.25/A average) in the cost of cover crop termination and facilitates planter performance in high residue systems. This information has been frequently requested by Cooperative Extension, NRCS, and producers, and has been featured in numerous popular press articles. An implement manufacturer, Kelly Manufacturing (KMC) in Tifton, GA is developing a commercial implement. Various tillage tools leave widely varying amounts of crop residue on the soil surface depending upon their methods of disrupting and moving soil. Implements are also affected to varying degrees by operational parameters, such as tillage depth and tillage speed. Experiments were conducted to determine the effect of one of these operation parameters, tillage depth, on two widely used types of tillage implements: chisel-type and disc-type. The results showed that chisel- type implements are not heavily dependent upon tillage depth and retain much greater amounts of crop residue on the soil surface. Disc-type implements, however, bury larger amounts of crop residues and are much more likely to bury greater amounts if they are operating at deeper depths. Producers and USDA-NRCS should be able to use the results of this research to select tillage implements and the depth at which they operate that will be more likely to leave large amounts of residue on the soil surface and prevent soil erosion. Question 4 C: None 5. Describe the major accomplishments over the life of the project including their predicted or actual impact. This is the first annual report for CRIS 6420-12610-002-00D, which is a continuation of the previous CRIS project 6420-12000- 0005-00D, and transition-interim CRIS 6420-12130-005-00D with expanded resources. The previous CRIS developed a conservation cropping system for the Tennessee Valley region that included practices of non-inversion fall tillage to alleviate problems of soil compaction and a rye cover crop to reduce soil compaction, reduce weed pressure and conserve soil moisture during periods of drought stress. Additionally, this CRIS found that the depth of root-impeding soil compaction and tillage to the appropriate depth reduced soil strength in the rooting zone and increased cotton yields. Tillage deeper than necessary wasted draft energy and promoted future soil compaction while excessively shallow tillage did not eliminate the soil compaction problem. 6. What do you expect to accomplish, year by year, over the next 3 years? This CRIS, 6420-12610-002-00D, titled "Conservation Systems for Improved Profitability and Soil Quality" in FY 2001, is newly formed as a result of a Customer Focus Group Input Meeting held February 4, 1999. Specifically the goals of the new CRIS are: increase adoption of conservation systems, especially in the Southeast; improve profitability and reduce economic risks of existing farming systems by enhancing carbon storage, plant available water and soil productivity and quality; and develop new production systems that are more profitable, less risky, store more carbon, and improve soil quality and productivity. Anticipated accomplishments for FY 2002-2004 include: 2002 Develop recommendations for best management practices for maintaining chemical and physical indicators of soil quality, integrating poultry litter and conservation tillage for the poultry-intensive Appalachian Plateau region. Determine the potential for using electrical conductivity mapping to assess soil quality indicators (including soil carbon storage) and their relationships to productivity. Provide data and information to NRCS cooperators. Commercial availability of 'SoilSaver' black oat, a new cover crop for use in conservation tillage systems. Finalize research on nitrogen management in high-residue conservation tillage systems for cotton in the Tennessee Valley. Develop preliminary recommendations for better management of nitrogen in these systems. Develop prototype combination mechanical roller/herbicide applicator to facilitate adoption of high-residue conservation cropping systems using mechanical rollers to terminate cover crops. Summarize research on the effects of various types and shapes of subsoilers on soil disruption and energy requirements. Preliminary recommendations will be presented to farmer groups on methods of reducing their tillage energy needs while maintaining adequate residue coverage. Summarize research on the effect of various types of tillage implements on their ability to maintain adequate amounts of surface residue on the soil surface while operating at different depths and at different speeds. Recommendations will be presented to NRCS and to farmer groups. 2003 Develop decision aides and information for producers and consultants to manage field scale variation of chemical and physical soil quality indicators, in relation to profitability (inputs vs. returns). Summarize research on intensive conservation cropping systems using ultra-narrow row cotton and develop comprehensive recommendations for systems to improve profitability and optimize soil carbon sequestration; including impact on soil quality indicators, productivity, and economic analyses of systems. Summarize and develop decision aides and information for improved management on nitrogen in high-residue conservation tillage systems for cotton in the Tennessee Valley. Summarize research and develop recommendations regarding the potential of brassica cover crops for increasing planting-date diversity and improving soil quality in conservation tillage systems. Finalize research on site-specific tillage to evaluate concept in Coastal Plains soils. Results of this research will be first transferred to our CRADA partner and then to the American public. Finalize research on frequency of tillage needed to eradicate compacted soil layers in Tennessee Valley soils and Coastal Plains soils. Preliminary recommendations will be presented to farmer groups on whether annual tillage is necessary for these Southeastern soils. 2004 Develop recommendations for integrated row crop-livestock production systems with winter annual grazing of stocker cattle that improves soil quality and increases profitability. Develop recommendations for planter seed furrow closing devices in heavy residue conservation systems based on soil type. Develop recommendations for irrigation requirements for cotton on silt loam soils as impacted by tillage system. Summarize research and communicate to farmer groups the results of research designed to determine how closely vehicle traffic can come to rows without detrimentally compacting them. 7. What science and/or technologies have been transferred and to whom? When is the science and/or technology likely to become available to the end user (industry, farmer, other scientists)? What are the constraints if known, to the adoption & durability of the technology product? Information on the conservation cropping system developed cotton grown in the Tennessee Valley region CONTINUES to be widely transferred through field days, commodity tours, speaking engagements, and popular press articles. Many farmers in the Tennessee Valley region of North Alabama have used many of our research accomplishments from this particular CRIS. Conservation tillage is now a common farming system in this region with farmers using conservation strategies including non-inversion fall tillage and cover crops. 'SoilSaver' black oat, a new cover crop from Brazil, was jointly released by Auburn University/Alabama Crop Improvement Association and IAPAR, the ParanNB state agricultural research agency. Information on management of high-residue producing conservation tillage systems and managing soil compaction in conservation tillage systems was transferred through field days, commodity tours, speaking engagements, and popular press articles (see list of presentations and press articles). Many requests for information on the multiple-probe soil cone penetrometer developed at the NSDL continue to be received. In previous years, the multiple-probe soil cone penetrometer was featured in many magazine articles and has received tremendous interest from many farmers, consultants, and researchers as a method of quantifying the degree of soil compaction found within a particular field. Interest has been generated in the site-specific tillage concept that is the subject of a CRADA between the NSDL and a major manufacturer of agricultural equipment. A large field scale experiment is being conducted that will seek to minimize energy use and maximize crop yields while supplying to the soil its site-specific needs. 8. List your most important publications in the popular press (no abstracts) and presentations to non-scientific organizations and articles written about your work (NOTE: this does not replace your peer-reviewed publications which are listed below) Popular publications Cerrado No-Till Journal (Brazil). Entrevista com Dr. Wayne Reeves, Pesquisador do Agricultura Research Service da USDA, Auburn, Alabama, EUA. (byline John Landers, publisher). August, 2001. Progressive Farmer. GREEN PAYMENTS FOR ALL. (quoted in article regarding management practices to sequester carbon). (byline Jim Phillips). pp. 40-42. January 2001. CSA News. Manure Phosphorus Management in Alabama. p. 19. Vol. 45, No. 8, August, 2000. Progressive Farmer. Cover Crops for Cotton. pp. 20-21. December 2000. (byline Boyd Kidwell). Southeast Farm Press. Burmester is cotton specialist of year. (our research was basis for discussion by extension specialist who won award). pp. 33-34. March 7, 2001. Progressive Farmer. Exciting New Cover Crops. pp. 62-64, February 2001. (byline John Leidner). Georgia Farmer. To Cover or Not? pp. 12-13. October 2000. (byline Donna Sandusky). Southeast Farm Press. High-residue corn systems tested. (discussion by University of Georgia extension specialist deals with our research project) pp. 14, 16. March 14, 2001. (byline Paul Hollis). Progressive Farmer. Cover Crops Too Tall? Roll'Em Down. pp. 50- 52. May/June 2001. (byline John Leidner). Resource Magazine (ASAE publication). Less tillage means reduced costs. February, 2001. ARS Quarterly Report. Report on CRADA with Deere and Co. to evaluate the concept of site-specific tillage. April-June, 2000. Presentations: Wiregrass Research and Extension Center, Headland, AL, August 23, 2001. "Tillage Requirements for Peanut and Cotton Following Winter-Annual Grazing Rotations". NRCS, Houston County, GA, August 20, 2001. "Deep Tillage Requirements in Conservation Tillage Systems". Allied Chemical/Honeywell sponsored CCA training, Pensacola, FL, September 23, 2001. Certified Crop Advisor Training (CCA) on "Conservation tillage and nutrient management for cotton". Soil & Water Conservation Society (SWCS) sponsored CCA training session, SWCS Annual Meeting, Myrtle Beach SC, August 4, 2001. "Tillage and Nutrient Availability". NRCS, Covington County, AL, August 16, 2001. "Benefits of Residue". IICA-PROCITROPICOS sponsored 1st International Seminar on No- Tillage in the South American Tropics, Dourados, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, July 9, 2001. "Soil Management in the Sub-tropical USA". 28th Brazilian Soil Science Congress, Londrina, Parana, Brazil. July 6, 2001. "Adopting Soil Management Lessons from Brazil to the Southern USA". Southern Peanut Growers Conference, Panama City Beach, FL, July 23-24, 2001. "Conservation Tillage and Carbon Storage". NRCS State Technical Committee Training, Perry, GA. April 18, 2001. "Soil Management for Soil Quality Improvement". Cedar Meadow Farm Field Day, Holtwood, PA, July 25, 2001. "Cover crop termination with a mechanical roller". No-Till Field Day, Headland, AL, March 20, 2001. "Conservation Tillage Management". Alabama Crop Improvement Association and Southern Seed Certification Associations, March 5, 2001. "Conservation Tillage: A Sound Practice". Virginia Tech Extension Service In-service Training, Blacksburg, VA, March 13, 2001. "Soil Compaction, Tillage Systems for Different Soils and Crops" and "Soil Management for Soil Quality". Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, Atmore, AL, February 16, 2001. "Conservation Tillage Cotton". Alabama Soybean Association, Huntsville, AL, February 3, 2001. "Conservation Tillage: A Sound Practice". National Cotton Council sponsored Producer Workshop, Beltwide Cotton Conference, Anaheim, CA. "Conservation Tillage for Cotton". Coordinated multi-location training session for producers. Georgia Plant Food Education Society, Perry, GA, January 17, 2001. Conservation Tillage Outlook for the Southeast". ASA CCA Training, Montgomery, AL, January 9, 2001. "Benefits and Management of Cover Crops in Conservation Tillage". Producer meeting, Hawkinsville, GA, November, 29, 2000. "Conservation Tillage Management". Alabama Cooperative Extension Service Web site In-Service Extension Training Conference, October 31, 2000. "Conservation Tillage" and "Tillage Systems for Wheat". 4th National Conservation Tillage Conference for Cotton and Rice. January 30-31, 2001. "Site-specific Management of Soil Compaction". Houston, TX. Alabama Cotton Field Day. Aug. 9, 2001. "Tillage/Guidance Systems" and "Nitrogen Management for Conservation Tillage Cotton". Tennessee Valley Research and Extension Center, Belle Mina, AL. ASA National Meeting. Nov. 7-8, 2000. "Predicting Soil Compaction and Soil Moisture with Soil EC". Minneapolis, MN. Workshop on Forest Tillage. Oct. 6, 2000. "Design and use of subsoilers to disrupt compacted soils". USDA-FS G.W. Andrews Laboratory, Auburn, AL. "Tillage for 2001 and Beyond..." April 6, 2001. University of Georgia, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Athens, GA. Agricultural Equipment Technology Conference 2001. February, 2000. "Contact Pressures and Soil Compaction from Rubber Track and Rubber Tire Tractors". Louisville, KY. Annual Meeting of Sand Mountain-Lake Guntersville Watershed Conservancy District (Alabama). October, 2000. "Research at the National Soil Dynamics Laboratory". Guntersville, AL.

Impacts
(N/A)

Publications

  • Mullins, G. L., Reeves, D. W., Schwab, R. L. Effect of seed P concentration, soil pH, and soil P status on yield of white lupin. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis. 2001. v. 32 (no. 1&2). ll p.
  • Dabney, S. M., Delgado, J. A., Reeves, D. W.. Using winter cover crops to improve soil and water quality. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis. 2001. v. 32. p. 1221-1250.
  • Raper, R. L., Reeves, D.W., Burmester, C.H., Schwab, E.B. Tillage depth, tillage timing, and cover crop effects on cotton yield, soil strength, and energy requirements. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 2000. v. 16(4). p. 379-385.
  • Reeves, Wayne. Sistemas de preparo conservacionistas para algodao. Resumos 7O Encontro Nacional de Plantio Direto na Palha: Harmonia do Homem com a Natureza Desafio do 3O Milnio, 31 July- 4 August, 2000, Foz do Iquacu, Paran, Brazil. 2000. p. 90-92.
  • Reeves, D. W. Plantio direto na cultura do algodao no Sudeste dos Estados Unidos (Conservation tillage systems for cotton in the Southeastern United States). Revista Plantio Direto (Journal of No-Tillage, Brazil). 2001 (March/April). v. 62. p. 24-27.
  • Dabney, S.M., Raper, R.L., Meyer, L.D., Murphee, C.E. Management and subsurface effects on runoff and sediment yield from small watersheds. International Journal of Sediment Research. 2000. v. 5(2). p. 217-232.
  • Raper, R.L. The influence of implement type and tillage depth on residue burial. Proceedings Symposium on Soil Erosion for the 21st Century, Honolulu, HI. January 3-5, 2001. p. 517-520.
  • Raper, R.L., Schwab, E.B, Dabney, S.M. Measurement and variation of site-specific hardpans. ASAE Paper No. 01-1008. American Society of Agricultural Engineers, St. Joseph, MI. 2001. 18 p.
  • Turner, R.J., Raper. R.L. Soil stress residuals as predictors of soil compaction. ASAE Paper No. 01-1063. American Society of Agricultural Engineers, St. Joseph, MI. 2001. 20 p.
  • Schwab, E.B., Reeves, D.W., Burmester, C.H., Raper, R.L. Reducing soil compaction and improving cotton yield with conservation tillage in the Tennessee Valley. Proceedings 24th Annual Southern Conservation Tillage for Sustainable Agriculture, Oklahoma City, OK, July 9-11, 2001. p. 42-49.
  • Way, T.R., Kishimoto, T., Burt, E.C. Bailey, A.C. Soil-tire interface pressures of a low aspect ratio tractor tire. Horn, R., van den Akker, J.J.H., Arvidsson, J., editors. Catena Verlag GMBH, Reiskirchen, Germany. Subsoil Compaction: Distribution, Processes and Consequences. Advances in GeoEcology 32. 2000. p. 82-92.
  • Way, T.R., Erbach, D.C., Bailey, A.C., Burt, E.C., Johnson, C.E. Soil displacement beneath an agricultural tractor drive tire. Proceedings 4th International Conference on Soil Dynamics. 2000. p. 71-78.
  • Adams, B.T., Way, T.R. Soil interface friction at high normal stresses. Proceedings of 4th International Conference on Soil Dynamics. 2000. p. 63-70.
  • Burt, E.C., Johnson, C.E., Morrison, J.E., Bailey, A.C., Way, T.R. Energy reduction in sweep tillage systems. Proceedings 4th International Conference on Soil Dynamics. 2000. p. 97-104.