Arkansas cotton producers now have access to more information about soil health through a series of virtual field days provided by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and the Soil Health Institute (SHI), the nonprofit entity charged with safeguarding and enhancing the vitality and productivity of soils.
The videos include conversations with cotton growers and soil health specialists in Arkansas, David Lamm, project manager of Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton, said. The series of six videos is publicly available on SHI’s YouTube Channel.
“Our goal is to conserve our natural resources and improve soil health while increasing profitability of farm operations,” Matt Fryer, soil science instructor with the Cooperative Extension Service, part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said. “Cover crops can help do that over the long term.”
Fryer and Bill Robertson, extension cotton agronomist for the Division of Agriculture, are featured in the Arkansas-based videos, some of which were filmed at Joe Whittenton’s farm in St. Francis County and Adam Chappell’s farm in Monroe County, both located in Arkansas’ Delta region.
“In Arkansas, Adam has been a forerunner in implementing cover crops and soil health practices for more than a decade,” Fryer said. “Those benefits include reducing erosion and water run-off, controlling weeds, improving soil health, and increased profitability among others.”
Whittenton and his family previously used cover crops on their farm but migrated away from their use for a few years.
“They are now working cover crops back into their production cycle and are seeing many of the benefits,” Robinson said.
Seven additional videos from a virtual field day in South Carolina also are available. The South Carolina field day includes videos on bulk density, soil temperature and general principles of regenerative agriculture.
Other virtual field days cover the following topics:
- Building Soil Health in Arkansas
- Cotton Soil – Conventional and No-Till
- Introducing the Furrow Runner Plow
- Cover Crop Seed Selection
- Cover Crop Seed Mixes
- Wide Row Cotton
- Soil Health in Richland County (South Carolina)
- Measuring Bulk Density
- Measuring Soil Temperature
- Principles of Regenerative Agriculture
- Warm Season Cover Crop Mixes
- Warm Season Cover Crop Growth
- Wrapping Up in Richland County (South Carolina)
The virtual field day videos are part of the Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton project, which provides farmer-focused education and training events delivered by Soil Health Institute scientists, partnering with local soil health technical specialists and farmer mentors who have implemented successful soil health management systems.
The project aims to increase the adoption of soil health management systems among cotton producers while documenting environmental and economic benefits.
Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton is supported through the generosity of the Wrangler brand, the VF Corporation Foundation and the Walmart Foundation. For more information about the project and access to the video series, visit here.