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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Small Grain and Food Crops Quality Research » Research » Research Project #444709

Research Project: PCHI: Field Experiments to Incorporate Pulse Crops in Cropping Systems and Assess Soil Health and Plant Water Use Efficiency - Phase 2

Location: Small Grain and Food Crops Quality Research

Project Number: 3060-21650-002-044-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2023
End Date: Dec 31, 2024

Objectives for the life of the project will be to: (1) Determine soil health and plant physiology responses of lentils, chickpeas, and dry peas grown in rotation and intercropped with barley; (2) Determine short term and seasonal carbon allocation to seeds, roots, and stems; (3) Evaluate the effect of including pulses on barley production; and (4) Assess the impact of water stress on pulse-barley production and on soil health indicators (e.g., organic matter and microbial community).

The experiment has two components that are designed to directly quantify soil health and pulse (lentil, chickpea, dry pea) growth responses in single and intercropped rotations with barley. Replicated fields will be grown over 4 years with either a drought or control treatment. To overcome the signal to noise in soils and pulse crop rotation research, we propose to use stable isotopic labeling to directly quantify the impact of including pulse crops on soil health and feedbacks to crop productivity. By using a unique double labeling method of 13CO2 and 15N2, we will quantify belowground responses including carbon deposition of plants into soil and shifts in soil microbial groups. Plant response measurements will include photosynthesis and transpiration, carbon allocation (to leaves, shoots, and fruits), intrinsic water use efficiency, and yield.