National Program 201: Water Quality and Management Projects at USDA-ARS, Sidney, MT
By: Robert Evans, TheCan Caesar-TonThat, Bill Iversen, Jay Jabro, James Kim, Robert T. Lartey, Andrew Lenssen, Upendra Sainju, and Bart Stevens
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This is a five-year project begun in 2003. Under the project, ARS researchers will be evaluating modified tillage interactions (conventional and strip till) under two irrigation methods (MESA - mid-elevation sprinkler, above canopy, and LEPA - low energy precision application, below canopy) on an 8-acre plot area with four sugar beet/barley rotations common to the region. ARS scientists are developing the precision irrigation hardware and software needed for the study. The research focus is on assessing the environmental impacts of cultural practices and improved management of water, nutrient and chemical applications under precision irrigated cropping systems. Elements being looked at include yields, crop quality, infiltration, diseases, soil quality and management guidelines.