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Cotton Response to Chicken Litter in Rotation with Corn in Clayey Soil

H. Tewolde, N. Buehring, A. Adeli, K. R. Sistani, D. E. Rowe, R. G. Pratt
Agronomy journal 2009 v.101 no.3 pp. 626-634
Gossypium hirsutum, cotton, fiber crops, Zea mays, corn, grain crops, crop rotation, organic fertilizers, crop yield, continuous cropping, cropping sequence, fertilizer rates, urea ammonium nitrate, soil texture, mineral fertilizers, poultry manure, Mississippi
Poultry litter may benefit continuous cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) production in the heavier Midsouth soils in the same way as crop rotation. The objective of this research was to determine the effectiveness of poultry litter in maintaining yield of continuous cotton compared with cotton-corn (Zea mays L.) rotation in the Black Belt Prairie clay soils of Mississippi. The research was conducted in a Catalpa silty clay loam soil in northern Mississippi. Three main plots with the sequence cotton-cotton-cotton, cotton-corn-cotton, and corn-cotton-cotton in 2003–2004–2005 were split into five subplots each of which received 0, 4.5, 9.0, 13.5 Mg litter ha⁻¹ yr⁻¹, or 123 kg N ha⁻¹ yr⁻¹ as urea-ammonium nitrate solution (32% N; UAN) (conventional inorganic fertilization, CIF). The CIF received 180 kg ha⁻¹ UAN-N when planted with corn. The results showed 3-yr continuous cotton produced about the same lint yield as cotton that followed corn or 1 yr cotton. Unlike soils in other locations where ≤9.0 Mg ha⁻¹ litter was adequate to produce yield equal to standard inorganic fertilization, cotton in this soil responded to litter up to 13.5 Mg ha⁻¹, which suggests lint yield in this clayey soil may be optimized with greater litter fertilization rate than in lighter soils. Cotton fertilized with 13.5 Mg ha⁻¹ litter, regardless of the rotation, outyielded the CIF by up to 26%. Overall, the results show adequate fertilization with poultry litter may be more important to improving and maintaining lint yield in this soil than the perceived benefit of a short-term rotation with corn.