He likes to rotate with wheat or plant wheat as a winter cover, terminate it in the spring, and plant cotton in the residue. He also plants cotton into old cotton stalks.

“I want a system that  provides organic matter, but doesn’t use a lot of water. Managing a cover crop has become more difficult because of our rainfall issues — the need to grow a cover crop and the need to conserve water are beginning to butt heads.”

It’s a dilemma, he says.

“I want to keep a cover crop to prevent wind from blowing the soil away. I may have to lean more on cotton stalk residue, but I prefer to plant in wheat litter. A true rotation is the best bet, but this isn’t proper wheat country. We’re trying some on our lighter water areas, then planting cotton in year-old stubble.”

He’s also tried planting a wheat cover, destroying it and planting in the residue.

“I have to look at cash flow,” he says. “Lately that’s not been a big issue with wheat prices up, but historical yields for wheat in this area may mean it’s not a good option. So, we have to look at cover crops and evaluate the potential. We have to know where our water is going and what we’re getting out of it.”