Long-term Collaborative Research between USDA-ARS, Agricultural Systems Research Unit and Colorado State University – Soil and Crop Science Department
Sustainable Dryland Agroecosystem Management Research Conducted Across Climate, Soils and Cropping Intensity Gradients
This collaborative research was established in 1985 to identify systems that maximize efficient water use under dryland conditions in Eastern Colorado. Specific objectives are to: i) evaluate cropping system sequences more intensive than wheat-fallow, with less frequent fallow periods over time frames of 2, 3 and 4 years; ii) quantify the relationships among climate [potential evapotranspiration (PET)], soil productivity level (summit, side and toe-slope positions along a topographic sequence) and cropping intensities; iii) determine the long-term effects of no-till management within cropping systems on soil structural stability, soil biological activity, and the organic C, N and P content of the 9 soils in various PET climates; iv) identify cropping and or management systems that will minimize soil erosion and maximize crop systems residue maintenance; and v) maintain databases across climates, soils, and cropping systems of production and the impact it has on soil physical and chemical properties. We currently have 24 years of data from these studies, that have been and are being used to validate and calibrate computer models that assess the entire management systems and help extend results to other soils and climates.