Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Lubbock, Texas » Cropping Systems Research Laboratory » Wind Erosion and Water Conservation Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #377392

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

Location: Wind Erosion and Water Conservation Research

Title: Soil health in a changing climate: Addressing challenges to maintain soil health in a semiarid region transitioning to dryland

item Acosta-Martinez, Veronica

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/15/2020
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: This presentation will cover results from different research activities in Lubbock TX that has increased our understanding of the soil microbial component as affected by the complex interactions of management and climate extremes in the semiarid region of the Southern High Plains. The water supply for irrigation from the Ogallala aquifer is diminishing because of its low recharge rate, which has worsened as droughts and heat waves become more frequent (e.g., 2003, 2006, 2011, 2016). As a consequence, the search for drought-tolerant forages, crops, and management strategies is critical. Acosta-Martinez and collaborators have been conducting soil health assessments in this region over two decades to link the biological component to organic matter dynamics and biogeochemical cycling. The influence of different forages has been evaluated to define integrated crop-livestock systems that enhance water conservation and sustainability as producers transition to low irrigation and dryland management. Recently, producers are introducing cover crops and no-tillage into this region to improve soil health as an effort to be more prepared for future droughts. Results from this region contributes to GRACEnet (Greenhouse gas Reduction through Agricultural Carbon Enhancement network) to provide information of organisms - and processes they govern - to select sustainable agricultural practices across the nation. Additionally, we contribute to the soil health assessments of the Ogallala Water Coordinated Agricultural (OWCAP) project, which involves a multi-disciplinary and location effort to address issues of water decline and long-term agricultural sustainability across the Ogallala aquifer region.