Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Crop Production Systems Research » Research » Research Project #427342

Research Project: Development of Productive, Profitable, and Sustainable Crop Production Systems for the Mid-South

Location: Crop Production Systems Research

2017 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Objective 1: Optimize early soybean production system and associated pest management strategies for the Mid-Southern United States. Objective 2: Develop innovative cotton management approaches that will optimize physiological responses of the cotton plant to environmental factors so that it can make the most efficient use of production inputs to improve lint yield and fiber quality. Sub-objective 2.1: Quantify yield, fiber quality, growth and development for varying cotton plant population densities with adequate and less-than-adequate N fertilization, and under irrigated or dryland production. Sub-objective 2.2: Quantify yield, fiber quality, growth and development for varying cotton varieties grown in both twin-row and single-row planting patterns under irrigated or dryland production. Sub-objective 2.3: Assess benefits of transgenic and non-transgenic cotton-soybean rotation systems on soil properties, weeds, yield, and seed and fiber quality in the Mississippi Delta. Objective 3: Assess the benefits of new drought tolerant, multiple herbicide-resistant, and insect-resistant (stacked gene traits) in current or new production systems. Objective 4: Assess impacts of transgene and glyphosate applications on soil microbial communities, plant-microbe interactions, as well as plant health and productivity in corn and soybean. Objective 5: Identify new and/or alternative crops for the Mid-South, determine their potential, and develop management strategies for integration and production.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
The purpose of this project is to develop productive, profitable, and sustainable crop production systems for three of the mid-southern major row crops (soybean, cotton, and corn) that increase yield, improve quality, and reduce production costs. Over the next five years, we will conduct customer-driven basic and applied research aimed at improving regional-specific cropping systems that are profitable, conserve natural resources, provide effective pest control, and make efficient use of production inputs. The specific production practices to be researched in these 3 major crops include row patterns and row spacing, seeding rates, new genotypes, nutrient management, crop rotations, irrigation, planting dates, and transgene and glyphosate effects on plant health and productivity of corn and soybean. In addition, alternative crops that could be produced using existing equipment and fit into rotation systems will be researched.

3. Progress Report:
Final field evaluations and laboratory assays of Maturity Group (MG) III soybean germplasm used in Objective 1 are being completed and manuscript preparation will be carried out on schedule. Growth and yield of cotton was improved following rotation with soybean as outlined in Objective 2. A third growing season was necessary for the drought tolerant corn hybrids described in Objective 3. Assessment of glyphosate-resistant gene and glyphosate applications on soil microbial communities, plant-microbe interactions, as well as plant health and productivity in soybean and corn was completed along with soil and plant sample analysis as outlined in Objective 4. Manuscript on soybean is accepted and one on corn is in preparation. A third planting of grain sorghum hybrids X population x row spacing as outlined in Objective 5 was unnecessary. Data were analyzed and a manuscript accepted for publication. An experiment examining potentially genetic resistant to sugarcane aphid was initiated in response to the insect’s appearance. One season has been successfully harvested. Data analysis will be made at the experiment’s termination. A new experiment on grain sorghum hybrids X planting date X irrigation has been initiated with the first year’s data collection successful. A 2-yr field experiment on guar (alternate crop for the Mid-South, Objective 5) production was completed.

4. Accomplishments
1. Grain sorghum production in Mid-South. Grain sorghum is comparatively more drought tolerant than many other crops and may help slow depletion of aquifers used by both agriculture and municipalities. A two-year experiment by a ARS researcher in Stoneville, Mississippi, studied the effects of seeding rates (98,000, 148,000, 197,600, and 248,000 kernels per ha), row type (single- vs. twin-row) and furrow irrigation vs. no irrigation on yield and yield components of grain sorghum grown on a clay soil. Irrigation did not affect any of the yield components or grain yield in this experiment. Increased seeding rates did increase heads per ha (154,274, 181,682, 196,580, and 225,625) but resulted in less grain per head (46.5 g, 40.0 g, 37.2 g, and 33.3 g) and no difference in 1,000 kernel weight, thus resulting in no yield differences. Twin-row plantings produced more heads per ha (199,340) than single-row plantings (179,740), but smaller 1000 kernel weights (26.3 g vs. 27.4 g) and less grain per head (37.1 g vs. 41.7 g) resulting in no difference in yield between row types. Furrow irrigation, twin-row planting and seeding rates above 98,000 kernels per ha did not increase grain sorghum yields in this experiment. This information can be useful for crop producers in the Mississippi Delta and similar environments, extension personnel and private consultants working with sorghum growers in the area and may help reduce ground water usage by agriculture in the region.

Review Publications
Bellaloui, N., Abbas, H.K., Bruns, H.A., Mengistu, A. 2016. Grain chemical composition as affected by genetic backgrounds and toxigenic Aspergillus flavus inoculation in corn hybrids. Atlas Journal of Plant Biology. 66-76. doi:10.5147/ajpb.2016.0158.
Bruns, H.A. 2017. Soybean micronutrient content in irrigated plants grown in the Midsouth. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis. doi:10.1080/00103624.2017.1299165.
Reddy, K.N., Jha, P. 2016. Herbicide-resistant weeds: Management strategies and upcoming technologies. Indian Journal of Weed Science. 48(2):108-111.
Mengistu, A., Yin, X., Bellaloui, N., Mcclure, A., Tyler, D.D., Reddy, K.N. 2016. Potassium and phosphorus have no effects on severity of charcoal rot of soybean. Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology. 38:174-182. doi:10.1080/07060661.2016.1168869.
Bruns, H.A. 2017. Southern corn leaf blight a story worth retelling. Agronomy Journal. 109(4):1-7.
Pettigrew, W.T., Bruns, H.A., Reddy, K.N. 2016. Growth and agronomic performance of cotton when grown in rotation with soybean. Journal of Cotton Science. 20:299-308.
Bruns, H.A. 2016. Flag leaf photosynthesis and stomatal function of grain sorghum as influenced by changing photosynthetic photon flux densities. International Journal of Agronomy. doi:10.1155/2016/1363740.
Bruns, H.A. 2016. Macro-nutrient concentration and content of irrigated soybean grown in the early production system of the Midsouth. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis. doi:1080.00103624.2016.1225079.
Jenkins, M., Locke, M.A., Reddy, K.N., McChesney, D.S., Steinriede Jr, R.W. 2017. Impact of glyphosate resistant corn, glyphosate applications, and tillage on soil nutrient ratios, exoenzyme activities, and nutrient acquisition ratios. Pest Management Science. 73:78-86.