Changes Stop Ero­sion

Successful Farming - - SOIL HEALTH INSIDER -

As fourth-gen­er­a­tion cot­ton farm­ers from Cot­ton Plant, Arkansas, Adam and Seth Chap­pell grew up with the tra­di­tional prac­tice of us­ing “lots of tillage” in or­der to pre­pare ridged seedbeds for row crops.

Be­cause of the flat to­pog­ra­phy of their farm, wa­ter from fur­row ir­ri­gation and rain­fall tended to stand in the fields. Plant­ing the row crops in the ridges helped the crops “keep their feet dry,” says Adam.

The heavy tillage led to wind and sur­face ero­sion of soil, though. “We’d have big gul­lies in fields,” he says.

The ero­sion was trou­ble­some to the Chap­pells, and even be­fore the re­tire­ment of their fa­ther, De­wayne, the fam­ily be­gan a grad­ual tran­si­tion to more con­serv­ing prac­tices. The first step was to plant a sub­se­quent row crop in the pre­vi­ous crop’s ridges, a prac­tice made pos­si­ble by pre­ci­sion tech­nol­ogy. Thus, the tillage needed to cre­ate a new seedbed was elim­i­nated.

With the Chap­pells’ use of no-till and the plant­ing of cover crops, the re­sul­tant im­prove­ments in wa­ter in­fil­tra­tion into the soil pro­file have re­moved the need for ridged seedbeds.

“We’re able to plant on a flat sur­face be­cause we no longer have wa­ter stand­ing in the fields,” says Adam.

LEARN MORE

Adam Chap­pell 870/219-6228 Chap­pell.adam@gmail.com Adam Chap­pell@cot­ton­plan­tkid

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