Cover Crops and Soil Water Dynamics—A Texas Perspective?

January 2024 | 20 min., 39 sec.
by Paul DeLaune
Texas A&M AgriLife Research

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​The Texas rolling plains has a highly variable climate; in recent years, heavy precipitation events have been followed by extended hot, dry conditions. Monoculture dryland cropping systems are predominant in this region, particularly wheat and cotton. Studies of cover crops and soil water dynamics have shown that precipitation is generally captured more efficiently in cover crop systems, and with improved soil properties, cover crop systems can decrease surface runoff. Sediment losses have been found greater under conventional systems than conservation systems, and nutrient losses (ammonium, total P, total C) generally correlate with sediment losses. Soluble nutrients (dissolved P and C) can be increased with high-residue systems.

About the Presenter

Paul DeLaune Paul DeLaune is an Associate Professor and Environmental Soil Scientist at Texas A&M AgriLife Research in Vernon, Texas. He obtained his MS and PhD in Agronomy/Soil Science at the University of Arkansas and his BS in Agronomy from Oklahoma State Un​iversity. Since joining Texas A&M AgriLife Research in 2007, Dr. DeLaune has focused on protecting water resources while maintaining agricultural production goals. Research topics include evaluating tillage and water management strategies in various cropping systems to improve nutrient and water use efficiencies, crop yields, soil health, and subsequent groundwater and surface water quality. Additionally, Dr. DeLaune has focused on the impact and adaptability of various cool-season and warm-season cover crop monospecies and mixtures on stored soil moisture and nutrient cycling in semi-arid cropping systems. He enjoys working directly with producers to learn of current issues first hand and develop applied research programs to meet critical needs.​​

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