ARS researchers are developing more efficient irrigation systems.
Repair of critical deferred maintenance including replacing critical HVAC controls and chillers.
Milestones- To be updated as milestones are completed.
Research at the Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research Laboratory
The Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research Laboratory develops sustainable crop management practices for irrigated agriculture. Scientists have developed conservation practices to control soil erosion and nutrient runoff and to improve water use for irrigation, which helps improve profitability for potato, beet, forage, and dairy producers and ensured adequate supplies of these products while protecting our soil and water.
For example, researchers at the Lab also developed a product called PAM (polyacrylamide), which can virtually halt soil erosion caused by furrow irrigation. Adding 10 parts per million--about 1 pound of PAM per acreto irrigation water cut field sediment losses to erosion by 95 percent.
In 1995, the first year of PAM's commercialization, farmers used the product on 50,000 acres, saving an estimated one million tons of soil.
Researchers at the Lab have also invented a new sprinkler head lets growers apply precisely the right amount of water and farm chemicals to each part of a field instead of managing an entire field as if it were uniform throughout in slope, fertility, and crop growth. The sprinkler head, which can reduce flow up to about 35 percent of a nozzle's full capacity, would allow growers to apply the correct amount of water to sandy, shallow patches within a field that drain readily and then less water to heavy clay spots that hold water longer. This avoids over-irrigating, which wastes water and can cause leaching of fertilizer or other chemicals into underground water supplies.
In addition, the Lab has also developed the first tall fescue grass, called "HiMag," that may protect cattle, sheep, and goats from grass tetany. Grass tetany, a condition that develops when ruminant livestock have too little magnesium in their blood, causes up to $150 million in livestock production losses each year in the United States. HiMag is unusually high in magnesium
Water Quality and Environment