No-Till Cotton Production

Sabrina Cotton, General, Specialty Crops

Cotton Field Day
Cotton growers attended a special field day on the topic of no-till production. Sabrina Hill has more.
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Cotton growers learned about about no-till management, using crop covers, and water conservation at a field day in Western Fresno. Cropping systems specialist with the University of California, Dr. Jeffrey Mitchell organized the event and shared some significant data.

“So far, what we’ve been doing is we measured and monitored how much water is lost from the soil during tillage events,” he said “Normally farmers in the springtime would do a series of pre-plant tillage operations from their field. Maybe three or four, maybe five tillage events. For every one of those tillage interventions, we found that you run the risk of evaporating about a quarter of an inch of water.”

He says the water that would have been lost due to tillage stays in the soil with the no-till system, and he says that’s just one of the benefits.

“Another thing that we’ve seen fairly decisively is after about eight or nine or now 12 years of no-till management for our tomato-cotton rotation the soil carbon numbers have increased,” he said. “And that’s something that we think is a first finding for this kind of a region here. It’s the first data that I’ve seen for tillage and cover crops systems increasing soil organic matter. So when you’re talking about mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, carbon sequestration in the soil, those kind of adjunct benefits come into play with these no-till systems there.”

For our photos from the no-till cotton production field day, click here.