Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SUSTAINABLE CROPPING SYSTEMS FOR IRRIGATED SPECIALTY CROPS AND BIOFUELS

Location: Vegetable and Forage Crops Production Research

2011 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Objective 1: Identify optimal strategies for incorporating bioenergy crops into irrigated Pacific Northwest Region cropping systems. • Sub-objective 1.A. Evaluate the impacts of harvest of C3 and C4 grass perennial biomass crops and the removal of crop residues on carbon sequestration, nutrient dynamics, and soil quality in irrigated Pacific Northwest crop rotations. • Sub-objective 1.B. Determine the efficacy of co-products from agricultural-based energy production on weed and disease control and soil fertility improvement in irrigated crop production systems. Objective 2. Identify optimal combinations of management practices to lower total production costs while maintaining market quality of irrigated potato-based production systems. • Sub-objective 2.A. Determine the impact of reduced tillage on soil conservation/erosion soil physical properties, the mechanisms controlling carbon and nitrogen cycling, and trace gas (CO2, N2O, CH4) fluxes and C sequestration and the yield and quality response of potato and rotational crops. • Sub-objective 2.B. Evaluate the effects of deficit irrigation practices on potato yield and tuber quality. • Sub-objective 2.C. Validate the ARS Potato Growth Simulation Model for the irrigated inland Pacific Northwest region. Objective 3. Develop ecologically-based management strategies that enhance vegetable yields and soil quality in irrigated organic production systems. • Sub-objective 3.A. Quantify key soil agroecological processes (carbon and nitrogen cycling) and application rates of organic amendments that optimize physiological development (nitrogen capture, plant growth rate) of potato under irrigated organic cropping systems. • Sub-objective 3.B. Integrate hybrids with weed suppressive traits into organic specialty crop production systems.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Long-term sustainability of potato production in the Pacific Northwest will depend not only on balancing the physiological production requirements, but also overcoming additional constraints to system productivity and profitability. Assessing sustainability and the basic interactions among system components are multifaceted tasks that require long-term studies integrating a multidisciplinary approach to understand system constraints and also provide data needed to support evaluation of impacts of specialty crops by system modelers. Improved cropping systems will be developed that reduce erosion, reclaim excess N, build organic matter, and suppress pests and improve soil and environmental quality and economic viability. Application of conservation tillage to specialty cropping systems will be investigated to evaluate improving environmental, biological and economic sustainability. With the expansion of the bioenergy industry in the U.S. and state and regional mandates for biofuel blending have made biofuels a high priority issue for the USDA. The expansion of the biofuel industry on potato and other specialty crop production will be investigated. The projected growth of the ethanol and biodiesel industries in the PNW will produce large quantities of organic-based co-products. These co-products are much greater than what can be utilized locally as a source of animal feed, so alternative value added uses will be investigated. The use of these co-products could be used to offset the high costs of nutritional and pest control requirements of potato and specialty crops. The demand for organic produce continues to expand and is of increasing interest to PNW growers. Managing weeds and providing adequate nutrients are the two major production issues for organic producers. Economical and environmentally friendly solutions are needed for organic producers to increase production efficiency by management of weeds and nutrients. Formerly 5354-21660-001-00D (8.08).


3.Progress Report
NP 216. Objective (1) Identify optimal strategies for incorporating bioenergy crops into irrigated Pacific Northwest Region cropping systems. Sub-objective 1.A. Evaluate the impacts of harvest of grass perennial biomass crops and crop residues on carbon sequestration, nutrient dynamics, and soil quality. Measures of C-sequestration potential by laboratory incubations and 13C analyses were completed for the study. A manuscript was submitted and was published in the Soil Science Society America Journal. Sub-objective 1.B. Determine the efficacy of co-products from agricultural-based energy production on soil fertility improvement in irrigated crop production systems. The field trial established in 2008 evaluating the application of agricultural-based energy co-products (e.g. oil-seed meals, distillers grains, anaerobic digested dairy manures) to reduce the application of synthetic fertilizers has been completed. Final third year assessments of the soil nutrient, potato quality and efficacy of bioenergy co-products are being analyzed. Two manuscripts on the use of biochar in soil have been submitted and accepted. 1B1. Onion field trials for weed suppression have been completed. Mustard meal derived from three S. alba genotypes differing in glucosinolate content were evaluated. Manuscript submitted and accepted to Weed Science titled ‘Onion and weed response to mustard (Sinapis alba) seed meal’. Objective 2. Identify optimal combinations of management practices to lower total production costs while maintaining market quality of irrigated potato-based production systems. This study is a continuation of the previous research project. Sub-objective 2.A. Determine the impact of reduced tillage on soil conservation, soil physical properties, and the yield and quality response of potato and rotational crops. Completed measurements of wind erosion and dust (i.e. PM10) emissions under the reduced and conventional tillage and crop. Sub-objective 2.B. The studies of greenhouse gas production have been completed and peer-reviewed manuscript published. Two manuscripts were submitted and accepted. Sub-objective 2.C. Evaluate the effects of deficit irrigation practices on potato yield and tuber quality. The field research has been completed and analysis of data from the field trials are completed. Sub-objective 2.D. Validate potato growth simulation model for the irrigated inland Pacific Northwest region. The SPUDSIM Simulation Model is being developed by the ARS-Crop Systems and Global Change Laboratory, Beltsville, MD. Sub-objective 3.A. Quantify key soil agroecological processes and application rates of organic amendments under irrigated organic potato production. Potato trials were established on a certified organic field has to evaluate a series of organic fertilizers and bioenergy coproducts. Sub-objective 3.B. Integrate sweet corn hybrids with weed suppressive traits into organic specialty crop production. Began data analysis on two year field trial comparing sweet corn hybrid tolerance to weeds under different weed management levels.


4.Accomplishments
1. Remediation of phosphorus from dairy lagoon waters using biochar. Estimates of animal manures produced in the United States by feedlot cattle, dairy cattle and swine exceeds 78 million tons annually. ARS scientists in Prosser, WA, have developed an approach to utilize dairy waste as an alternative energy and fertilizer source. The fiber component exiting a GHD Plugged Flow anaerobic was used to produce bio-gas or bio-oil under low temperature pyrolysis. The co-product, biochar was applied to dairy waste water to remove nutrients. Our approach resulted in the removal of >32% of the P from the dairy effluent within 15 days of treatment. The current price of biochar is $200-300 per ton. Dairies in Washington State could produce 230,000 tons of biochar a year from manure.

2. Mustard seed meals effective weed control in onions. Weed management represents the major cost of production for organic onions and hand weeding can cost up to $2,000 per acre. Alternative methods of weed control that reduce the amount of hand weeding are needed. ARS scientists in Prosser, WA, identified the herbicidal compounds in mustard (Sinapis alba) meal and refined the use patterns of mustard meal to obtain weed suppression without harming the onion crop. We demonstrated that mustard seed meals that contain high levels of sinalbin suppressed weeds when applied after the two leaf stage of onions and significantly reduced the amount of hand weeding required in trials conducted over three years on commercial organic fields. The use of mustard seed meal may be useful to producers of organic crops for weed suppression and help reduce excessive costs of hand weeding which can range from $500 to $2,000 per acre.


Review Publications
Felix, J., Boydston, R.A. 2010. Evaluation of Imazosulfuron for Yellow Nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus) and Broadleaf Weed Control in Potato. Weed Technology. 24:4 471-477.

Alva, A.K., Fan, M., Qing, C., Rosen, C., Ren, H. 2011. Improving Nutrient-use Efficiency in Chinese Potato Production - Experiences From the USA. Journal of Crop Improvement. 25:46-85.

Fan, X.H., Li, Y.C., Alva, A.K. 2011. Effects of Temperature and Soil Type on Ammonia Volatilization from Slow-Release Nitrogen Fertilizers. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis. 42:10, 1111-1122.

Hussein, M.M., Abd El-Kader, A.A., Kady, K.A., Youssef, R.A., Alva, A.K. 2010. Sorghum Response to Foliar Application of Phosphorus and Potassium with Saline Water Irrigation. Journal of Crop Improvement. 24:324-336.

Wang, Q., Li, Y., Alva, A.K. 2010. Cropping Systems to Improve Carbon Sequesteration for Mitigation of Climate Change. Journal of Environmental Protection. 1:207-215.

Boydston, R.A. 2010. Managing Weeds in Potato Rotations without Herbicides. American Journal of Potato Research. 87:420-427.

Boydston, R.A., Collins, H.P., Fransen, S. 2010. Response of Three Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) Cultivars to Mesotrione, Quinclorac, and Pendimethalin. Weed Technology. 24:336-341.

Alva, A.K., Sajwan, K., Paramasivam, S. 2011. Effects of water treatment residuals and coal combustion byproduct amendments on properties of a sandy soil and impact on crop production – A pot experiment. Archives of Agronomy and Soil Science. 2011:1-10.

Liu, G.D., Li, Y.C., Migliaccio, K.W., Ouyang, Y., Alva, A.K. 2011. Identification of Factors Most Important for Ammonia Emission from Fertilized Soils for Potato Production Using Principle Component Analysis. Journal of Sustainable Watershed Science & Management. 1:21-30.

Collins, H.P., Fransen, S., Smith, J.L. 2010. Carbon sequestration under irrigated switchgrass (panicum virgatum) production. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 74:2049-2058.

Williams, M.M. II, Boydston, R.A., Peachey, R.E., Robinson, D. 2011. Performance consistency of reduced Atrazine use in sweet corn. Field Crops Research. 121:96-104.

Smith, J.L., Collins, H.P., Bailey, V.L. 2010. The effect of young biochar on soil respiration. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 42(12):2345-2347. doi:10.1016/j.soilbio.2010.09.013.

Calderon, F.J., Reeves III, J.B., Collins, H.P., Eldor, P.A. 2011. Chemical differences in soil organic matter fractions determined by diffuse-reflectance mid-infrared spectroscopy. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 75(2)568-579.

Collins, D.P., Cogger, C.G., Kennedy, A.C., Forge, T., Collins, H.P., Bary, A.I., Rossi, R. 2011. Farm-scale variation of soil quality indices and association with edaphic properties. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 75:580–590. doi:10.2136/sssaj2010.0029.

Streubel, J.D., Collins, H.P., Garcia-Perez, M., Tarara, J.M., Granatstein, D., Kruger, C.E. 2011. Influence of Biochar on Soil pH, Water Holding Capacity, Nitrogen and Carbon Dynamics. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 75: 1402-1413.

Last Modified: 9/29/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page