DEVELOP SUSTAINABLE AND FLEXIBLE DRYLAND CROPPING SYSTEMS AND MANAGEMENT - DECISION SUPPORT TECHNOLOGY FOR THE GREAT PLAINS
Location: Agricultural Systems Research Unit
Project Number: 5402-66000-005-06
Specific Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Aug 12, 2003
End Date: Aug 11, 2008
Develop flexible dryland cropping systems that enhance soil moisture and precipitation use efficiency from year to year and are economically and environmentally sustainable. Develop decision aids that help accomplish this for producers with different soils and climate conditions. Assess the effect of intensive cropping systems on soil quality, particularly soil carbon Sequestration. Extend the management-decision support systems to include risk assessment and management for variable weather, production hazards such as insects and hails, and marketing uncertainties. Assess the value of precision farming in dryland systems management (spatial variability) and develop technology to extend plot results to field and farm scales.
Field evaluations of dryland, no-till, crop rotations of varying intensities, will continue at 3 locations in Eastern Colorado with special emphasis on flexible cropping. Data will be collected on weather variables, soil water storage, plant growth and yield, residue levels, soil N and C, and natural hazards. Results will be analysed and published and the data used to verify and refine models and decision-support systems. Different crop rotations and residue levels will be assessed for changes in soil organic matter content, compaction, soil structure stability, infiltration and soil nutrient status. Spatial analysis will be conducted for crop yield as a function of soil type and landscape position. Decision aids will be developed for spacial management and for flexible cropping based on soil moisture at planting and forecast of rainfall. Estimate of risk will be given for different options.