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Cover crop termination timings and methods effect on cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) development and yield

Cover crops have been promoted for use in agricultural systems due to both environmental and economic opportunities. Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) growers in West Tennessee faced challenges in 2015 and 2016 with cover crop termination management which resulted in failed cotton stands. The objective of this experiment was to determine effects of cover crop termination timing and method on cotton emergence, development, and yield. Field experiments were conducted from 2018 to 2020 in both small plot and on-farm scenarios across West Tennessee. Cover crop termination timings consisted of an at-planting termination, three weeks prior to planting, and both a broadcast and furrow-strip termination six weeks prior to planting. The cover crop termination methods consisted of chemical termination, mechanical termination, and chemical + mechanical termination. At-planting termination reduced emergence by 25% and delayed maturity of 65% of the stand relative to a six week broadcast termination. Mechanical termination reduced emergence by 26% and delayed maturity of 26% of the stand relative to the chemical and chemical plus mechanical termination treatments.

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