Comparison of Interseeded Legumes and Small Grains for Cover Crop Establishment in Cotton
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Wind erosion of soil is a potential problem in unprotected cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) fields on the Southern High Plains of Texas during winter and early spring. Our objective was to determine which winter annual forage legumes and small grains may fie successfully established by fall interseeding into standing cotton. Thirteen plantings were made over 6 yr at three locations. Both cotton and the interseeded forages were grown under rainfed conditions. The forages were winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L. emend. Thell.), rye (Secale cereale L.), Austrian winter pea [Pisum sativum subsp. pisum var. arvense (L.) Poir.], hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth), subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum L.; 5 cultivars), rose clover (Trif. hirtum All.; 3 cultivars), crimson clover (Trif. incarnatum L.; 2 cultivars), red clover (Trif. pratense L.), berseem clover (Trif. alexandrinum L.), and barrel medic (Medicago truncatula Gaertn.; 2 cultivars). Successful stands of wheat, rye, winter pea, and hairy vetch were obtained in 69% of the plantings, but in only 53% for the other forages. Establishment of the small-seeded legumes (clovers and medics), which must fie planted at a shallow depth, seemed to be governed by the timing of effective rainfall events after seeding. Establishment of the larger-seeded wheat, rye, winter pea, and vetch was less dependent on timely rainfall after planting. Of these winter annuals, wheat and rye were the most dependable in producing a soil cover.
author list (cited authors)
Keeling, J. W., Matches, A. G., Brown, C. P., & Karnezos, T. P.