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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fayetteville, Arkansas » Poultry Production and Product Safety Research » Research » Research Project #435714

Research Project: Plant-Soil-Water Nexus: Agricultural Systems Research on Tribal Lands

Location: Poultry Production and Product Safety Research

Project Number: 6022-63000-006-010-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Oct 1, 2018
End Date: Sep 30, 2023

1. Determining How Spatially Variable Landscape Attributes Impact Preferential Grazing in Tree-Livestock (Silvopasture) Systems. 2. Linking Precision Agricultural and Digital Soil Mapping Technologies to Improve On-Farm Profitability and Sustainability. 3. Using Big Data to Develop Digital Soil Maps for Agricultural Resource Management Plans on Tribal Lands.

Approach corresponding to objectives: Objective 1, a) evaluate causative factors of preferential grazing in silvopasture systems by assessing soil nutrient, carbon, and water availabilities by tracking grazing patterns of cattle using GPS collars across the landscape. b) assess appropriate drought and shade tolerant alley crops depending on landscape position, soil moisture, and canopy dynamics, thereby allowing producers increased flexibility to respond to variations in biomass, forage, and forest product markets. c) match crop needs to spatially variable landscape attributes to manage yield potential and soil moisture. d) compare native warm-season grasses, as both grazable and energy crops. e) quantify how grazing pressure, soil moisture availability, fertilization, and forage species affect root decomposition, rhizosphere carbon content, and subsequent soil health. f) correlate grazing pressure and forage availability to soil properties based on digital soil mapping of soil physical and chemical properties (such as texture, depth, water-holding capacity, plant available water, and nutrient dynamics) in silvopasture systems. Objective 2, a) identify actual reductions in irrigation, seed, fertilizer (organic and inorganic), and chemical inputs when automated steering and digital soil mapping technologies are integrated based on terrain attributes. b) use data obtained in objective i to identify efficiency gains and feasibility of adoption from this technology by determining break-even prices based on farming operation type, farm size, and capital investment requirements. c) quantify subsequent soil health and water quality impacts from reductions in agricultural inputs based on in-field data from crop farms and cattle ranches. Objective 3, a) manage risk by matching agricultural systems with appropriate landscape positions for production of culturally important and healthy food products. b) ensure culturally important adaptation processes, embedded in traditional ecological knowledge are integrated with modern technology by building a platform to collate information (i.e., traditional ecological knowledge, digital soil informatics, and remotely sensed data) for the projection of the information spatially for agroecological use.