Submitted to: Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Abstract only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/12/2006
Publication Date: 7/24/2006
Citation: Ascough Ii, J.C., Hansen, N.C. 2006. Simulation modeling of limited irrigation cropping systems in the south platte river basin. Soil and Water Conservation Society Annual Meeting. July 22-26, 2006. Keystone, Colorado. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: The South Platte River Basin is located primarily in Northeastern Colorado, with lesser parts in Nebraska and Wyoming. Agriculture is the predominant water user in the basin and demand frequently exceeds supply, particularly in times of drought. Further exacerbating the problem is water demand from rapid urban population growth. Significant reductions in irrigated acres are expected as water is transferred from agricultural to urban uses. Therefore, it is of great interest to farmers, agribusiness, and rural communities to identify cropping systems that can maintain economically sustainable yields with limited irrigation water. Furthermore, agricultural producers are requesting quicker transfer of research results to aid them in transitioning from conventional irrigation practices. This demand can be facilitated with a robust agricultural system model that can predict plant growth response and water use for limited irrigation systems. We apply the RZWQMZ-GIS model in a preliminary effort to identify cropping systems and water conservation technologies that optimize irrigation water use in the South Platte River Basin. Specifically, we simulate the effects of limited irrigation systems and irrigation timing on water use and crop production. Simulation results are presented displaying different combinations of crop and management scenarios for optimizing irrigation management under a range of soil and climate conditions. Based on RZWQMZ-GIS output responses, viable cropping systems for limited irrigation water environments are recommended. In addition, we discuss simulation results in the context of identifying fundamental knowledge gaps in sustaining irrigated agriculture under limited water conditions.