Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/14/2003
Publication Date: 4/14/2003
Citation: Van Pelt, R.S., Baker, J.T. 2003. Soil water dynamics, surface energy balance, and canopy microclimate in dryland cropping systems: the usda-ars facility in big spring, texas[abstract]. Meeting Abstract. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Almost all of the available resources of water for irrigation have been developed and, in the case of groundwater reserves, are over-developed or facing a finite life expectancy. In the future, rain-fed and dryland agriculture will contribute a larger share of food and fiber production worldwide. Most of the land in regions where rainfall is consistently adequate to meet the needs of the crop have already been developed. Billions of arable hectares worldwide are in regions where rainfall is not consistently adequate, as it is presently partitioned, to meets the needs of the crop. Of the incident rainfall in these areas, much is lost to runoff and of the water that infiltrates the soil, much is lost to surface evaporation. The water that is transpired by the crop is the only portion that actually contributes to the growth and productivity of the crop. We have constructed a facility at the USDA-ARS field station in Big Spring, Texas to study the dynamics of rainfall infiltration, surface evaporation, and the temporal and spatial patterns of water storage and plant uptake in the soil. With this information, we will be able to design and test more water-use efficient cropping systems that will result in more food and fiber production in areas with limited rainfall. Such developments are necessary if the future food and fiber supply is to keep pace with demand.