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ARS Home » Plains Area » Temple, Texas » Grassland Soil and Water Research Laboratory » Research » Research Project #438949

Research Project: FY2020 Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) - Benchmark Watershed Assessment Studies (on Croplands)

Location: Grassland Soil and Water Research Laboratory

Project Number: 3098-13610-009-086-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Aug 1, 2020
End Date: Sep 30, 2023

Objective:
Overall goals of the CEAP Watershed Assessment Studies Components are: 1) quantify the measurable effects of conservation practices at the watershed scale, 2) enhance understanding of conservation effects in the biophysical setting of a watershed, and 3) inform local watershed conservation strategies.

Approach:
To support USDA-NRCS and USDA-ARS Soil Health efforts: -- Quantify nutrient management effects on soil and water quality at field and small watershed scales. -- Collect detailed land management data for each watershed to support analysis of land management impacts on water quality, soil quality, and profitability. -- Collect soil samples from multiple small watersheds with various soil test P levels and various inorganic and organic fertilization strategies. -- Analyze soil samples for C, N, and P levels to refine and enhance USDA-ARS Haney Soil Health Tool. -- Collect remote sensing information from cropped fields under different management to establish if these tools can be useful. -- Evaluate soil health and fertility guidelines on cotton yield and lint quality. To compare the impact of conservation practices on soil health, runoff water quality, crop yield, crop nutritional status, and on-farm economics. -- Collect surface runoff in each and every runoff event with automated samplers and collect baseflow samples weekly; analyze all samples for NO3-N, NH4-N, and PO4-P concentrations. -- Compare traditional fertility recommendations to the Haney fertility recommendations in terms of crop yield, economics, soil health and water quality. -- Use cover crops on cropped fields to enhance soil health and minimize the amount of time bare soil is exposed to rainfall. Since the 2021 crop will be cotton, novel cover crop systems will be used in fall/winter of 2020/2021. -- Evaluate the impact of cropping systems management on the nutritional content of grain harvested for human consumption. For cotton crop, evaluate the impact of cropping systems management on systems level nutrient dynamics and crop quality.