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ARS Home » Plains Area » El Reno, Oklahoma » Grazinglands Research Laboratory » Forage and Livestock Production Research » Research » Research Project #433726

Research Project: Diversifying Rainfed Cropping System in the Southern Great Plains to Improve Sustainability of Agriculture

Location: Forage and Livestock Production Research

Project Number: 3070-21610-003-10-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 1, 2018
End Date: Jul 31, 2019

Objective:
Evaluate new crops and crop cultivars for adoptability to heat and drought stress of Southern Great Plains. Understand stress physiology, water use patterns and natural resource conservation potential and yield formation of alternative crops to assess rotational benefits.

Approach:
Agriculture in the Southern Great Plain is exposed to low and unpredictable rainfall, temperature extremes and strong wind to make dry land agriculture risky and natural resources more vulnerable. Limited crop options available to farmers compound the problem. The proposed research will assess alternative legume, oilseed and cereal crops and crop cultivars to diversify the cropping system to improve water use patterns, tolerate multiple abiotic stresses, conserve natural resources to improve sustainability of agriculture in the region. The research will assess ideal planting time for diverse crops, better adopted cultivars, understand stress response mechanisms and yield formation under range of water availabilities. The research will assess root systems and resource use patterns of diverse crops in response to stress at critical growth stages. Understanding critical growth stages for yield formation will help in designing management practices to improve productivity. Overall goal of the research is to improve water productivity, sustainability of dryland agriculture and prepare producers for more challenging future climates.