Monday, November 13, 2006 - 2:00 PM

Current Status and Future Direction of the Tri-State Sod/Livestock Based Peanut/Cotton Cropping System.

Tawainga Katsvairo1, D.L. Wright2, J.J Marois2, D.L. Hartzog3, K.B. Balkcom4, J.R. Rich2, and P.J. Wiatrak2. (1) University of Florida, Univ. of Florida, 155 Research Rd., Quincy, FL 32351, (2) Univ. of Florida, 155 Research Rd., Quincy, FL 32303, (3) Auburn Univ, Wiregrass Reg. Res. & Ext. Cntr, P. O. Box 217, Headland, AL 36345, (4) Auburn University, Wiregrass Reg. Res. & Ext. Cntr, P. O. Box 217, Headland, AL 36345

   A multi-discipline and mult- state (Alabama, Florida, and Georgia) project was initiated in 2000 to evaluate the potential use of perennial grasses including bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum) as a rotational crop in peanut (Arachis hypogaea) and cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) and also to evaluate the integration of livestock into the peanut/cotton cropping system. The project which has expanded to include over 30 scientists has seen phenomenal and positive results. Over the past 6 years, we have observed increased peanut and cotton yields coupled with reduction in major peanut and cotton diseases. Improvements in soil health parameters to include water infiltration, soil moisture, bulk density, residue ground cover and soil fauna to include earthworms have been observed.  We have also recorded reductions in nitrate leaching as well as increased N uptake. Because the management techniques we are using in the sod-based rotations were designed for the traditional cropping system, we are currently adjusting several management techniques to include N and pesticides application rates. The project is now progressing to include electrical conductivity studies using Veris, variable rate irrigation and use of auto-steering equipment.  The project has continued to hold great promise for both sustainability and profitability for the future.