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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Kimberly, Idaho » Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research » Research » Research Project #443183

Research Project: Consequences of Uniformly Managing Irrigated Fields with Variable Soil Depths

Location: Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research

Project Number: 2054-13000-010-006-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2022
End Date: Aug 31, 2024

Evaluate the impacts of variable soil depth on crop yield, water use, and nutrient uptake.

This study will measure the effects of shallow soils on water use, nutrient uptake, and yield of crops grown in irrigated fields at the Idaho Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (IdahoCAFE). Soil cores were previously collected on a 0.6-acre grid on two fields. These samples provide the depth to bedrock to 3 ft. Soil nutrient and mineral data will be analyzed and correlated with soil depth and evapotranspiration maps to identify indicators for management zones. Additionally, water and nutrient balances will be calculated for two growing seasons at established locations in the two fields where soil depth is <3 ft and additional locations where soil depth is >3 ft. Fields will be uniformly managed and irrigated by the commercial farm that is leasing the property. Soil cores will be collected prior to planting in the spring and after harvest in the fall to determine changes in soil nutrient concentrations. Plant samples will be collected at harvest to determine crop nutrient removal in addition to overall crop yield. Sensors will measure soil water content during the growing season. Data will be used to calculate irrigation efficiency, crop water productivity, and nutrient use efficiency. Results will be used to identify potential management zones for varied water, crop, and nutrient applications.