Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Pushpa Soti

Second Advisor

Alexis Racelis

Third Advisor

Bradley Christoffersen


Comprehensive understanding of soil properties, their interdependencies, and the effects of management practices is crucial for designing sustainable agricultural strategies. By adopting site-specific and need-based practices that enhance soil health, farmers can optimize crop growth, increase yield, and contribute to long-term environmental sustainability. Cover crops have been recognized for enhancing soil fertility, promoting microbial activity, and increasing organic matter content. However, while their effectiveness is well documented in temperate regions with readily available water, their impact in water limited systems in subtropical regions remains mixed. The aim of this study is to assess soil conditions in four different farms across the Lower Rio Grande Valley and to analyze the impact of cover crops on subsequent commodity crops. Preliminary results show that soil microbial communities are heavily influenced by nitrogen. My results confirm that timing of planting and termination of cover crops is crucial in achieving optimal benefits for growers.


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