|Conventional tillage is widely practiced by Valley growers.|
|Here is a field with a legume cover crop.|
|A tractor is rolling a vetch no-till cover crop.|
From 1999 through 2014, Mitchell and other researchers quantified cover crop biomass production for a variety of mixtures under winter rainfall and limited supplemental irrigation. The group conducted a separate study to determine changes in soil water storage under three cover crop mixtures compared to fallowed plots during the winter of 2013 and 2014 to investigate tradeoffs associated with water use by cover crops in the region.
“ From this long-term systems research, we conclude that while vigorous growth of winter cover crops in the Central Valley may not be possible in all years due to low and erratic precipitation patterns, there may be benefits in terms of providing ground cover, residue, and photosynthetic energy capture in many years. However, cover crop biomass production may come at a cost of soil water depletion in this semiarid, drought-prone region,’’ the study said.
|A Texas NRCS soil demo of no-till and tillage in water.|
What’s this mean? “Better water holding capacity (with the no-till soil),” one farmer responded.
To view Jeff’s presentation, you can go to our website and see for yourself just how different the two soil samples were. The link is http://www.sustainablecotton.org/videos/index/115.