Submitted to: University of Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station Publication
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: August 5, 2011
Publication Date: September 2, 2011
Citation: Vories, E.D. 2011. USDA-Agricultural Research Service Irrigation Research. University of Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station Publication. p. 29. Technical Abstract: The ARS irrigation research program at the Delta Research Center is part of the USDA-ARS Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research Unit at Columbia, Missouri. It began in 2000 with cooperative research between ARS scientists at Columbia and University of Missouri scientists at the Delta Center. 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. In late 2009 the objectives were modified in response to a redirection of funds and the current objectives include: 1. Develop methods and evaluate the benefits and limitations of site-specific management technologies for irrigated agriculture in the Mid-South region. Specifically, evaluate the suitability of variable-rate center pivot irrigation for crop production on the variable soils and varied climatic conditions to determine potential costs and benefits for producers. 2. 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. Specifically, evaluate and optimize production systems for irrigated cotton, corn, and soybean to optimize WUE within timing constraints for field operations and limited growing season (for cotton) of the northern portion of the Mid-South. 3. Determine the impacts of climate change on irrigated crop production and impacts on water quality in the Mid-South region. Specifically, evaluate and relate the quality of runoff from irrigated fields to determine current and potential environmental risks of sediment, nutrients, and/or pesticides leaving the fields. This project is part of ARS National Program 211: Water Resource Management. Current studies in southeast Missouri address using sensors for detecting drought and nutrient stresses in cotton and corn; 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. The program also includes cooperative studies with researchers at other locations addressing problems pertinent to southeast Missouri agriculture.