cotton growing
BETTER STANDS. Adam Chappell used to plant cotton a quarter- to half-inch deep in his conventional system, only for the ground to seal over after a healthy rain. But soil conditions have improved so much with no-till, he says, that cotton planted an inch deep still gets good stands nearly every time. “The ground is so loose and mellow that it just blows out of the ground,” he says, noting the plants never cup up or droop anymore.

Surviving Pigweed Death Struggle with No-Tilling and Cover Crops

On the verge of bankruptcy from herbicide-resistant weeds, Adam and Seth Chappell discovered they could control weeds and slash inputs by embracing conservation practices.

Back in 2009, Adam Chappell was at the end of his rope. Trying to control pigweeds on the 9,000-acre farm he shares with his brother, Seth, in Cotton Plant, Ark., was a constant fight. They were making 15 trips across the field in per growing season with sprayers and various tillage equipment, spending anywhere from $100-$200 an acre on weed control.

It was so bad, Adam told attendees at the 2018 No-till on the Plains Winter Conference, they were on the brink of bankruptcy. 

Desperate to make a change, Adam began scouring the internet for any information that could help them take back control of their weeds and their finances. That’s when he came across a video on YouTube of an organic pumpkin grower who was using cereal rye for weed control. 

When Adam noticed there were no weeds poking up through the rye residue in the video, which was shot in June, he knew they had to give cover crops a try. In 2010 they plowed ahead of the crop as normal, but that fall they seeded 300 acres of cereal rye. The following spring they saw an immediate reduction in weed pressure on those 300 acres. 

Since then they’ve permanently parked their tillage equipment and have expanded cover crops to almost every acre of their farm. In addition to better weed control, they’re spending 40-50% less inputs than their neighbors, while still maintaining yields. 

“Our yields are competitive and we actually have profit potential, where we didn’t prior…

To view the content, please subscribe or login.
 Premium content is for our Digital-only and Premium subscribers. A Print-only subscription doesn't qualify. Please purchase/upgrade a subscription with the Digital product to get access to all No-Till Farmer content and archives online. Learn more about the different versions and what is included.

Laura allen

Laura Barrera

Laura Barrera is the former managing editor of No-Till Farmer and Conservation Tillage Guide magazines. Prior to joining No-Till Farmer, she served as an assistant editor for a greenhouse publication. Barrera holds a B.A. in magazine journalism from Ball State University.

Top Articles

Current Issue


No-Till Farmer

Get full access NOW to the most comprehensive, powerful and easy-to-use online resource for no-tillage practices. Just one good idea will pay for your subscription hundreds of times over.

Subscribe Now

View More

Must Read Free Eguides

Download these helpful knowledge building tools

View More
Top Directory Listings