Submitted to: Agriculture Handbook
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 16, 2009
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The ARS irrigation research program at the Delta Center is part of the USDA-ARS Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research Unit located at Columbia, Missouri. It began in 2000 with cooperative research between ARS scientists at Columbia and University of Missouri scientists at the Delta Center. By 2003 the program had expanded enough to support additional personnel at Portageville. Earl Vories was hired as Lead Scientist in 2004 and Ray Benson as Agricultural Science Research Technician in 2005. A five-year research plan titled Optimizing Irrigation Management for Humid Climates was developed that included studies led by both ARS and University of Missouri scientists. The plan was reviewed by scientists outside of USDA as part of ARS's Congressional Mandate for peer review to insure quality research and was certified by the Office of Scientific Quality Review in 2007. Project objectives include: 1. Develop methods and techniques for design, operation, and management of irrigation systems in the Mid-South region. 2. Develop and evaluate the benefits and limitations of site-specific management technologies for irrigated agriculture in the Mid-South region. 3. Determine interactions between irrigation and agronomic practices, and identify cultivars/practices to overcome problems encountered in irrigated cotton and soybean production for the Mid-South region. 4. Determine the impacts of irrigation and irrigated crop production on water quality in the Mid-South region. Current studies in southeast Missouri address soil compaction effects on irrigation management; using sensors for detecting drought and nutrient stresses in cotton and soybean and for nitrogen management of irrigated cotton; flood tolerance of soybean and cotton; minimizing water use for rice production, including sprinkler irrigated rice production; managing pumping costs; real-time sensors for irrigation management; twin-row production of Mid-South crops; optimizing center pivot management; and agricultural runoff and drainage water quality. In addition to studies at the Delta Center and with cooperators on nearby farms, the program includes cooperative studies with researchers at other locations addressing problems pertinent to southeast Missouri agriculture.