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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lubbock, Texas » Cropping Systems Research Laboratory » Wind Erosion and Water Conservation Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #370398

Research Project: Optimizing Water Use Efficiency for Environmentally Sustainable Agricultural Production Systems in Semi-Arid Regions

Location: Wind Erosion and Water Conservation Research

Title: Ecosystem Services from Circular Buffer Strips of Perennial Grasses to Sustain Irrigated Agriculture in the U.S. Great Plains.

item ANGADI, SANGU - New Mexico State University
item SINGH, PARAMVEER - New Mexico State University
item GOWDA, PRASANNA - US Department Of Agriculture (USDA)
item BEGNA, SULTAN - New Mexico State University
item UMESH, M.R. - New Mexico State University
item GHIMIRE, RAJAN - New Mexico State University
item IDOWU, JOHN - New Mexico State University
item MAREK, GARY - US Department Of Agriculture (USDA)
item Lascano, Robert
item MAREK, THOMAS - Agrilife Research

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/27/2019
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Declining Ogallala aquifer is the most important challenge agriculture is facing in the U.S. Great Plains. Irrigation well outputs in the region are reducing and most farmers are not able to irrigate their entire pivot. An innovative research project of rearranging unirrigated part of the pivot into circular buffer strips of perennial grasses alternating with crop strips to improve many ecosystem services including water cycle was initiated at Agricultural Research Center at Clovis. A mixture of seven tall growing cool and warm season grasses were planted in circular buffer strips in 2016. Grain corn was planted in strips alternating with grass strips during 2017 and 2018. The objective of this landscape level study is to assess temporal and spatial distribution of benefits from single and multiple buffers. Preliminary data indicates improvements in crop microclimate with buffers. They also conserved more water after a heavy rainfall event. The most significant observation was combine harvested corn yield, which integrates all benefits of circular buffer system in 8 row strips (6 m). In 2017, it showed 24% seed yield increase in the outer most 6 m and 9% in the inside strips. During 2018, all 12 strips extending 72 m from edge showed benefit of CBS. Study will also assess effect on soil health, C and N sequestration, microbial diversity and greenhouse gas emissions, beneficial insect dynamics. The project will assess long-term benefits of the system, which are expected to be agronomic, environmental, economic and quality of life and develop quantitative relationships or models for easy adoption in newer area. With extensive use of center pivot irrigation and RTK-GPS systems in the region, the system can be easily adopted over entire Great Plains and also in other parts of the world. This unique concept will improve sustainability of irrigated agriculture substantially.