ECOLOGICALLY-SOUND PEST, WATER, AND SOIL MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES FOR NORTHERN GREAT PLAINS CROPPING SYSTEMS
Location: Agricultural Systems Research Unit
Project Number: 5436-13210-004-00
Start Date: Mar 04, 2005
End Date: Aug 04, 2008
Evaluate diversified alternative crop rotations under conservation tillage conditions that reduce inputs, including purchased agrochemicals, and enhance integrated biologically and culturally based weed and disease management.
• Objective to be redirected: Develop biocontrol technologies and early detection methods for fusarium head blight of barley (FHB).
• New Modified Objectives: (1) Develop methods for the biocontrol of net blotch and its early detection to increase the yield and quality of malting barley, and (2) Develop diversified, profitable alternative crop rotations that include bioenergy and specialty crops under conservation tillage conditions that reduce inputs, including purchased agrochemicals and enhance integrated biologically and culturally based weed and disease management.
Evaluate and test biologically and culturally based crop management strategies that optimize soil quality, carbon sequestration, soil aggregation and soil biological diversity, and efficiently recycle nutrients while minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and improving water quality.
• Objective to be redirected: Develop fungal biochemical markers that are indicators of the effects of management practices on soil quality.
• New Modified Objectives: (1) Develop methods for detecting soil aggregating and rhizosphere bacteria to be used as indicators of soil health, and (2) Quantify benefits from advanced cropping systems and management practices under irrigated and dryland conditions.
Research teams focus on the ecology, soil, water and crop management, and
water quality issues related to specific long term dryland and irrigated
crop rotations covering a range of common soil types and agronomic
objectives tested under both replicated plot and field conditions. The
effect of crop diversity and intensity, cultural practices, crop rotations
and soil water management on diseases and weed populations as well as soil
and water quality are evaluated to determine sustainable crop production
strategies for the region. Dryland rotational treatments compare diverse
small grain production using conventional tillage and cropping practices
with no-till and ecologically-based cropping practices. Crop rotations
and sequences, conservation (strip) tillage, and irrigation frequency
studies examine the interactions between yields, pest problems and soil
water movement within accepted sugarbeet-barley rotations under precision
application linear move irrigation systems. Spatially varying plant
nutrient levels, yields, disease and weed populations and soil quality
data are analyzed and compared with remotely sensed information over time.
Soil fauna are investigated to determine abundance and the combined species
interrelationships with respect to enzymatic activities, uronic acid concentrations and effects on nutrient cycling and soil aggregation under
various dryland and irrigated cropping systems. Natural antagonists and
plant protection mechanisms are identified and used to develop fungal
disease and weed biocontrol strategies. Measurements are taken to assess
and quantify the environmental impacts of different management practices
and strategies on improving soil and water quality, reducing runoff and
leachate, and quantifying the resulting influences on weed/disease ecology.
Nutrient and soil water management alternatives, selected precision
agriculture technologies, specific tillage and other farming practices that
minimize soil disturbance and compaction essential for maintaining soil
structure and decreasing runoff (water quality) under irrigated crop
rotations are evaluated for potential water quality benefits of various
cropping systems using a combination of existing models and laboratory and
field measurements. Technologies are demonstrated and transferred to
growers using replicated field scale trials and existing farm management
computer models comparing diverse cropping, reduced tillage and ecological
crop management with conventional systems. User-friendly systems for the
management and interpretation of spatial data using new measurement
technologies that replace current time-consuming and laborious methods are
developed to help diffuse site-specific management of field crop production
over broad geographical areas.