1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
(1) Develop methods and techniques for design, operation, and management of irrigation systems in the Mid-South region. (2) Develop and evaluate the benefits and limitations of site-specific management technologies for irrigated agriculture in the Mid-South region. (3) Determine interactions between irrigation and agronomic practices, and identify cultivars/practices to overcome problems encountered in irrigated cotton and soybean production for the Mid-South region. (4) Determine the impacts of irrigation and irrigated crop production on water quality in the Mid-South region.
1b. Approach (from AD-416)
To optimize irrigated crop production and protect soil and water resources in the Mid-South, it is necessary to consider natural soil variability within fields, the range of crops and production systems, and the types of irrigation systems employed. Our interdisciplinary team will address limitations to the overall goal of improving performance, profitability, and sustainability of Mid-South agriculture. We will investigate ways to improve irrigation scheduling and mechanized-irrigation-system management in spatially-variable soils. We will explore use of commercial sensors to provide information regarding crop water status and flood-water depth. Building on our previous research, we will investigate flood tolerance among cotton and soybean cultivars and plant introductions to reduce the risks associated with irrigating in humid climates; and investigate the water quality impacts of irrigated agriculture. We will investigate advantages and limitations to site-specific irrigation. Building on our long-term experience with irrigation scheduling, we will assess the options available for Mid-South irrigators. Site-specific irrigation and rice production system evaluations will include on-farm research with active participation by crop producers and crop advisors. Products of this research will include a sensor system for monitoring rice fields, water-conserving production systems for rice production, and improved flood tolerance for surface-irrigated Mid-South crops.
3. Progress Report
Efforts concentrated on initiating the studies described in the new Project Plan that includes objectives from both ARS and University of Missouri scientists. Under ARS leadership: 1. In cooperation with NRCS to work with producers through the Conservation Security Program, began testing a system to remotely monitor rice field water status. 2. Instrumented a center pivot irrigation system equipped for variable rate application to determine the feasibility of variable rate irrigation. 3. Prepared study to investigate the quality of runoff from irrigated fields. Through the Specific Cooperative Agreement with the University of Missouri Delta Center (see also 3622-13610-001-01S: IMPROVING IRRIGATED CROP PRODUCTION IN SOUTHEAST MISSOURI) 1. Plot studies employed a three tower pivot (radial length 152 m) to conduct the study to incorporate variability into irrigation management. 2. Plot studies employed a wide range of cotton seeding rates on sandy and silt loam soils. 3. Soybean cultivars and plant introductions previously identified with moderate to high flood tolerance were grown in a greenhouse to evaluate their tolerance to gradual and fast flooding of soil. 4. Three cotton varieties were evaluated with starter fertilizers in flooded and non-flooded conditions, flood timings were investigated, and the screening of cotton varieties continued.
None, Project began 04/24/2007.