Submitted to: Annals of Arid Zone
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/15/2000
Publication Date: 12/1/2000
Citation: WIENHOLD, B.J., LUCHIARI, A., ZHANG, R. CHALLENGES CONFRONTING SOIL MANAGEMENT FOR DRYLAND AGRICULTURE. ANNALS OF ARID ZONE 39:333-346. 2000. Interpretive Summary: Many important crop production regions receive precipitation in insufficient amounts limiting the types and yields of crops grown. Historically, management practices in these regions have emphasized water conservation. An increasing world population, competition for water resources, and environmental issues require that management practices that balance crop production and environmental quality be developed for these regions. These new practices will have to utilize nutrients from all available sources efficiently, will have to continue improving water use efficiency by the crop, and will have to conserve natural resources.
Technical Abstract: Dryland cropping regions are present on every continent except Antarctica and represent major food and feed grain producing regions. As the human population continues to grow there will be greater demand for food, fiber, and biofuel production. Society is emphasizing the quality of production in addition to the quantity produced. Increased production will be needed at the same time land is being lost to urban encroachment and degradation resulting from wind and water erosion, physical and chemical degradation, and other competing uses (e.g. natural areas). Increased productivity will require efficient capture, storage, and use of precipitation and efficient utilization of all available nutrient resources. Tools for quantifying the spatial variability in soil properties affecting water dynamics; tools for sensing crop stresses that can be alleviated through management; and methods for quantifying the spatial variability in nutrient availability are needed. As efforts are undertaken to increase productivity under dryland conditions, practices that are sustainable and preserve biotic and abiotic natural resources will need to be developed and adopted by producers.