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Soil Health in Arkansas: Is it Profitable?
This showcase will be a roundtable discussion moderated by Dr. Bill Robertson, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Cotton Agronomist and Mr. Matt Fryer, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Soil Instructor, with three Arkansas cotton farmers. The farmers bring varying levels of experience using cover crops, no-till and other soil health promoting practices. Mr. Adam Chappell, Cotton Plant, AR, has been using no-till and cover crops on his 9,000-acre farm for more than 10 years. He raises cotton, corn, soybeans, and rice. Besides increases in soil organic matter, Mr. Chappell says he has seen reduced pest pressures because of his cover crop use. He attributes this to providing diverse habitat for beneficial insects. Reducing input cost is one of Mr. Chappell’s primary goals. Mr. Wes Kirkpatrick, Dumas, AR, says he is happy with his soil health management system (SHMS) that includes no-till and use of cereal grains as his primary cover crop. His SHMS has improved water infiltration and reduced weed pressure. Mr. Jesse Flye, Trumann, AR, is new to cover cropping but not to cotton. He’s interested in expanding his cover crop acreage and hopes to achieve many of the benefits that Mr. Chappell and Mr. Kirkpatrick have seen.