Conservation tillage systems add residue to the soil profile and over time the decaying roots add to the available channels for water to infiltrate deeper into the soil profile. Over time, the decaying biomass adds organic matter to the soil profile that causes it to better absorb and translocate water. Conservation tillage has benefits for farmers with and without irrigation. Two farmers benefiting from conservation tillage are Lamar Black and Clayton Anderson, both of whom are in east central Georgia.
Black has been using conservation tillage since 1993 and has irrigation. He says that with conservation tillage, he is able to apply less water, which allows him to supply enough water for all crops including corn. Furthermore, with the build-up of organic matter, he can apply more water per application without runoff, thereby reducing wear on the pivot.
Anderson has been using conservation tillage since 2000 and farms mostly dryland crops. Even without supplemental irrigation, he says that using conservation tillage enhances the water-holding capacity of his soils. This benefits the crops during dry periods in the summer. “During periods of extreme heat and continuous sunshine, the residue keeps soil temperature down and slows the evaporation process,” says Anderson. “If we are lucky enough to get a rain or quick downpour, it stays in the field and is quickly absorbed by the soil,” he adds.
Through the use of a conservation tillage system, farmers with irrigation as well as those without irrigation benefit from the improved ability of the soil to capture, translocate and store water resources.
Table of Contents
- Author and Contributor List
- Chapter 1: Introduction to Conservation Tillage Systems
- Chapter 2: Conservation Tillage Systems: History, the Future and Benefits
- Chapter 3: Benefits of Increasing Soil Organic Matter
- Chapter 4: The Calendar: Management Tasks by Season
- Chapter 5: Cover Crop Management
- Chapter 6: In-Row Subsoiling to Disrupt Soil Compaction
- Chapter 7: Cash Crop Selection and Rotation
- Chapter 8: Sod, Grazing and Row-Crop Rotation: Enhancing Conservation Tillage
- Chapter 9: Planting in Cover Crop Residue
- Chapter 10: Soil Fertility Management
- Chapter 11: Weed Management and Herbicide Resistance
- Chapter 12: Plant-Parasitic Nematode Management
- Chapter 13: Insect Pest Management
- Chapter 14: Water Management
- Chapter 15: Conservation Economics: Budgeting, Cover Crops and Government Programs
- Chapter 16: Biofuel Feedstock Production: Crop Residues and Dedicated Bioenergy Crops
- Chapter 17: Tennessee Valley and Sandstone Plateau Region Case Studies
- Chapter 18: Southern Coastal Plain and Atlantic Coast Flatwoods Case Studies
- Cash Crop Selection and Crop Rotations
- Specific Management Considerations
- Case Study Farms
- Producer Experiences
- Transition to No-Till
- Changes in Natural Resources
- Changes in Agricultural Production
- Specialty Crops
- Why Change to No-Till?
- Supporting Technologies and Practices
- The Future
- Research Case Study
- Chapter 19: Alabama and Mississippi Blackland Prairie Case Studies
- Chapter 20: Southern Piedmont Case Studies