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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Improving Irrigation Management and Irrigated Crop Production in Southeast Missouri

Location: Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research

2011 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
1. Evaluate potential water savings for rice production through sprinkler irrigation and adapt irrigation scheduling methods to include rice; 2. Develop methods for real-time differentiation between nutrient and drought stress in cotton and soybean; 3. Investigate practices to mitigate climate change and environmental impacts for sustainable rice production; 4. Investigate water quality and insecticide efficacy for rice seeded in soil amended with biochar; 5. Develop variable-source fertilizer program utilizing controlled release nitrogen; 6. Develop guidelines for safe, sustainable use of fertigation and chemigation.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Scientists from both ARS and MU conduct crop production research in southeast Missouri relating to irrigated crop production and irrigation management. This research will include studies on agricultural experiment stations as well as on cooperator's farms. Project results will be documented in scientific and extension publications and will be presented at a variety of international, national, regional, and local meetings.


3.Progress Report

This was the initial year of the Agreement; therefore, efforts were aimed at preparing for and initiating new studies. Projects investigated irrigated crop production in the upper Mississippi Delta region and procedures to meet the objectives included: (1) Used adapted irrigation scheduling program to manage irrigation of large block rice study under a 152-m center pivot system. Constructed solid set irrigation system for plots to develop experimentally determined rice crop coefficient function. Determined moisture release curve for soil in plots. (2) Modified and tested adjustable sensor system to measure spatially referenced canopy temperature, reflectance, and height, and temperature and relative humidity of air above crop so that measurements can be made in undisturbed plots. Completed soybean study and collected data in cotton and corn. (3) Constructed field-scale pyrolyzer and used to compare biochar conversion efficiency and resistance to microbial decomposition of a range of feedstocks. (4) Collected water samples from plots with different contact times for soil treated with biochar (currently being analyzed). Planted rice in soil and tested efficacy of insecticide against fall armyworm. (5) Worked with two southeast Missouri producers to set up replicated large plot studies of blends of urea and controlled release nitrogen; and (6) Constructed solid set irrigation system for fertigation and chemigation of plots and compared a conventional nitrogen lay-by application to four separate fertigations. Project scientists organized and participated in several meetings and field days, with presentations to irrigators and irrigation industry representatives. These included the November 2010 Certified Crop Advisor training, January 2011 Irrigation Workshop, and February 2011 Missouri Rice Producers Conf. Professional presentations were made at the December 2010 5th National Decennial Irrigation Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. Computer programs related to irrigation were placed on the Missouri Agricultural Electronic Bulletin Board (AgEBB); popular press articles were written and additional information was presented in print and on radio. Additional presentations were made by scientists cooperating on the parent project. Monitoring project progress occurs frequently. The Authorized Departmental Officer's Designated Representative, collocated with most cooperators, has near-daily contact and discussions on project progress and can inspect progress and status. For many components, direct cooperation exists between the ADODR and cooperators. All Delta Center cooperators write annual progress reports for the spring Advisory Board meeting, and the fall Field Day. The winter irrigation and local commodity conferences offer other opportunities for updates.


Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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