Soil Water Dynamics and Cotton Production Following Cover Crop Use in a Semi-Arid Ecoregion Academic Article uri icon


  • Conservation management practices such as no-tillage and cover crops can decrease soils susceptibility to wind erosion, but adoption of these practices has been limited on the Texas High Plains (THP) where producers are concerned with cover crop water usage. The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of no-tillage and cover crops on cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) lint yield and soil water content in a deficit irrigated cropping system. Soil water was observed bi-weekly in long-term, continuous cotton systems established in 1998 that included (1) conventional tillage, winter fallow, (2) no-tillage with rye (Secale cereale L.) cover, and (3) no-tillage with mixed species cover located in Lamesa, TX, USA. Results include observations from 20182020 (years 2123 of the study period). The adoption of conservation practices did not significantly reduce cotton lint yield compared to conventionally tilled, winter fallow cotton. Soil water was initially depleted with cover crops but was greater throughout the growing season following cover crop termination. Throughout the soil profile, water depletion and recharge were more dynamic with conservation practices compared to the conventionally tilled control. There were no differences in cotton water use efficiency between treatments. Results from this study indicate cover crop water usage is likely not the cause of cotton lint yield decline in this deficit irrigated semi-arid production system.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Burke, J. A., Lewis, K. L., DeLaune, P. B., Cobos, C. J., & Keeling, J. W.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Burke, Joseph Alan||Lewis, Katie Lynn||DeLaune, Paul Bradley||Cobos, Christopher Joseph||Keeling, Jack Wayne

publication date

  • May 2022