Location: Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research
Project Number: 6082-13000-011-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated
Start Date: Dec 29, 2021
End Date: Dec 28, 2026
1. Develop effective irrigation and water management techniques to improve water and nutrient use efficiency and increase water reuse for conservation. 1a. Improve site-specific/variable-rate irrigation management using decision support systems to improve water and nutrient use efficiency. 1b. Enhance multiscale prediction of water pathways under climate variability using Machine Learning (ML) with hydrological models. 1c. Evaluate the impact of advanced treatment technologies for livestock wastewater reuse. 2. Develop innovative cropping systems and rotations to improve water and nutrient use efficiency, profitability, climatic resiliency, and reduce environmental impacts. 2a. Quantify the impact of tillage and crop rotation interactions on optimizing water availability and crop productivity in rainfed agriculture with or without cover crops. 2b. Identify and develop novel cover and row crop systems that provide double cropping benefits, while improving soil and water conservation in the Southeastern United States. 2c. Evaluate available novel row and cover crop genetic resources for productivity and water-use in drought-prone soils. 2d. Evaluate how water availability and microbial population dynamics are influenced by soil management practices.
Water availability is essential to maintain and increase agricultural production to meet the new century’s growing food and fiber demands. Increasing demand for water for recreational, industrial, and ecosystem services is competing with agriculture for available water resources. Therefore, agriculture must be more efficient with its available water resources. The overall goal of this project is to improve water and nutrient management in humid regions. The research focuses on two main objectives. The first objective is to develop effective irrigation and water management techniques to improve water and nutrient use efficiency and increase water reuse. In this objective, we will evaluate and refine a decision support system for variable-rate irrigation management to improve water and nutrient use efficiency. Using hydrologic models and machine learning, we will improve the prediction of multiscale water and nutrient pathways under climatic variability. We will investigate the feasibility of reusing livestock wastewater for supplemental irrigation from improved treatment technologies. The second objective is to develop innovative cropping systems and rotations to improve water and nutrient use efficiency, profitability, climatic resiliency, and reduce environmental impacts. Much of the Southeastern Coastal Plain’s agriculture is in rainfed production. To address this, we will investigate and quantify the impact of tillage and novel crop rotations to optimize water availability and crop productivity and improve overall soil and water conservation. We will also investigate novel cover crops and their genetic resources to provide potential double-cropping benefits and improve soil and water conservation in the region’s drought-prone soils. Overall, this research will identify water and nutrient management practices that conserve water, sustain production, and enhance environmental quality. Conservation and protection of the nation’s water resources will ensure food and fiber production for current and future populations in an economically viable and environmentally sustainable manner.