Minimum Tillage Systems for Cotton: Reduced Energy, Time, and Particulates

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 1998: $182,850.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2002
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $54,000.00
Region: Western
State: Arizona
Principal Investigator:
Robert Roth
University of Arizona
Dr. James Walworth
University of Arizona

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: cotton


  • Crop Production: conservation tillage
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, on-farm/ranch research
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, agricultural finance, risk management
  • Pest Management: physical control, cultivation
  • Production Systems: general crop production


    Four cotton tillage systems were evaluated for PM10 emissions, energy requirements, field operation times, yield, grower adoption and economic analysis. PM10 emissions, fuel usage and field operation times reduced as the number of field operations decreased. PM10 emissions and total fuel usage both reduced by a factor of four when comparing conventional tillage to the single-pass Pegasus system. Field operation times were reduced by a factor of five when comparing these same tillage systems. Replacing the Conventional system with the Pegasus system produced an additional $25.91 per acre while the Sundance and Paratill systems increased income by $16.76 and 16.06 per acre, respectively. Growers are slow to adopt minimum tillage systems even though there is an increase in revenue and there is benefit to reducing the amount of fugitive dust. However, the survey results showed that growers are reducing the number of field operations for the current conventional tillage systems.

    Project objectives:

    1. Compare three minimum tillage/controlled traffic systems to a conventional system in terms of profitability/efficiency, sustainability and particulate generation.

      Evaluate commercially viable methods of reducing emissions from tillage operations.

      Demonstrate minimum tillage systems at field days, thereby permitting first hand observation by growers, extension personnel, etc. of their functionality and performance.

      Disseminate results through the popular press, Extension bulletins and technical manuscripts.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.