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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fort Collins, Colorado » Center for Agricultural Resources Research » Soil Management and Sugarbeet Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #388062

Research Project: Management Practices for Long Term Productivity of Great Plains Agriculture

Location: Soil Management and Sugarbeet Research

Title: Effects of climate change on irrigated corn systems in Colorado and the potential to adapt using management practices

item Delgado, Jorge
item Floyd, Bradley
item D Adamo, Robert
item VILLACIS, ALEXIS - Arizona State University
item Brandt, Amber
item HALVORSON, ARDELL - Retired ARS Employee
item Stewart, Catherine
item ALWANG, JEFFREY - Arizona State University
item Del Grosso, Stephen - Steve
item Manter, Daniel

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/16/2021
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Abstract only

Technical Abstract: Climate change is one of humanity’s greatest challenges and will present one of its most formidable threats to food security in the 21st century. Fortunately, conservation practices can provide management strategies to help farmers adapt to a changing climate. Our presentation will cover results from two papers that are currently under peer review. The Halvorson plots located at the Colorado State University Agricultural Research, Development and Education Center (CSU-ARDEC) in Fort Collins, Colorado, have been monitored for the past two decades and were used to evaluate the effects of a changing climate on yields. In one paper we found that climate change is occurring at the site and that temperatures have increased over the past century (P<0.001). These long-term studies have found that these temperature increases are correlated with higher yields in these irrigated corn systems. Our presentation will also cover the results of our new 2018 to 2020 research on the effects of using narrow planting rows on yields, which was also conducted at ARDEC. We found that by using narrow planting rows (38.1-cm spacing), total biomass at physiological maturity increased by an average of 35.7% and harvested grain increased by an average of 9.8% in irrigated corn. The results show that although irrigation could potentially be a management adaptation strategy to a changing climate, dryland systems will be significantly impacted by the combination of higher water demands and no increases in precipitation (P<0.001). Our results suggest that farmers could increase biomass and grain production, as well as water and nitrogen use efficiencies in these irrigated systems by planting in narrow rows. These studies also showcase the advantages of using unique long-term studies such as the Halvorson plots to evaluate long-term effects of a changing climate on cropping systems. Additional information on results from these studies will be highlighted in the presentation.