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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Water Project FY12
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 Surcane fieldDenitrification and Gas Emissions from Soils: Drainage is being reduced in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) to prevent phosphorus runoff. This will cause soils to have higher moisture and more anaerobic activity. The increased water table heights did not increase denitrification enzyme activity or the emission of N2O from Florida muck soils.  More Information:  Denitrification and Gas Emissions... Technical Abstract
 Sensors in cotton research plotsFuzzy Logic for Assessment of Soil Water Movement:  Fuzzy logic is a semi-quantitative approach that uses simple calculations combined with expert opinion. We used both fuzzy logic and a traditional mass-balance method to estimate percolation and evapotranspiration. Fuzzy logic calculations indicated that evapotranspiration came mainly from the top foot of soil compared well with the traditional mass-balance method. These methods offer a new opportunity to easily assess the fate of water as it moves through the soil to groundwater or to the plant. More Information: Development and Application of Fuzzy ... Technical Abstract  Full PDF Adobe Acrobat PDF

 Image of cotton plant under drought stressConservation Tillage for Drought Mitigation: Climate prediction models indicate that the Southeast US will experience more periods of drought. In a cotton production study comparing tillage systems from 1997-2002 - the last five years were during a major drought that affected most of North America, we found higher yields (25%) with conservation tillage than with conventional tillage. Conservation tillage for cotton production could be an important way to maintain productivity if climate change in the region occurs as predicted.  More Information: Cotton Responses to Tillage... Interpretive Summary  Full PDF Adobe Acrobat PDF

 Center pivot variable rate irrigationVariable Rate Irrigation and NutrientManagement: Site-specific irrigation allows precise amounts of water and nutrients to be applied to specific areas where and when plants need them for optimal growth. How crops respond spatially to water and nutrients is needed to make recommendations for site-specific management decisions. We conducted a two-year study to determine how corn responds spatially to varying irrigation and nitrogen applications. 
More Information: Corn Yield Response... Interpretive Summary   Full PDF Adobe Acrobat PDF

 Image of switchgrassPotential Impacts of Biomass Feedstock Production on Water Resource Availability: High fuel costs have scientists looking for alternatives to oil from waste materials and crops. However, use of crops to provide a significant amount of bioenergy involves new challenges for agriculture including management of water resources for both fuel and food. We reviewed and assessed potential bioenergy production based on its impact on water resources and the impact of water resources on bioenergy sustainability.  
More Information: The Potential Impacts of Biomass... Interpretive Summary  Full PDF Adobe Acrobat PDF

Center pivot variable rate irrigation

center pivot variable rate irrigation
Variable Rate Irrigation Management: While variable rate irrigation provides farmers with a tool to spatially allocate limited water resources along with potentially increasing profits, management of these irrigation systems requires rapid and reliable data. We conducted variable rate irrigation experiments using vegetative-index sensors mounted on both tractor and aircraft to estimate plant biomass and using infra-red thermometers mounted on a tractor to measure crop canopy temperatures.
ARS Scientists Collaborate to Increase Irrigation Accuracy
More Information: Water Flow Rates from a Site-Specific...
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Opportunities for Conservation with Precision Irrigation...
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  Specific Center Pivot irrigation experiment layoutImproved Spatial Analysis for Site-specific Irrigation:  Variable rate or site-specific irrigation provides farmers with the ability to allocate limited water resources while potentially increasing profits. However, lack of basic knowledge about spatial and treatment-varying crop response to irrigation hinders irrigation management. A methodology was developed that explains the variations and also provides estimates of the uncertainty in the result. This new statistical methodology provides a much needed tool for crop advisors to better account for spatial variation in precision agricultural research.   More Information: Semiparametric Geographically Weighted Response...  Technical Abstract   Full PDF Adobe Acrobat PDF

  aerial view of peanut spatial irrigationPeanut Spatial Irrigation Management: Determining how best to use spatial irrigation technology will likely increase grower income while lowering water consumption by agriculture. We initiated an experiment to evaluate spatial irrigation scheduling using 1) soil water potentials, 2) the Irrigator Pro model for spatial management zones, and 3) the Irrigator Pro model for uniform management zones.
More Information: Variable Rate Irrigation Management... 
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Site-specific Irrigation of Peanuts...  Technical Abstract    Full PDF Adobe Acrobat PDF

grass forage cropSubsurface Drip Irrigation on Forage: We installed a subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) system to evaluate the feasibility of using SDI for effluent application to bermudagrass hay. Plots receiving treated effluent had significantly higher hay yields and significantly higher nutrient biomass removal rates than the commercial fertilizer treatments and did not adversely impact the soil or water quality.
More Information: Forage Subsurface Drip Irrigation Using... 
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Intake and Digestibility...Interpretive Summary   Full PDF Adobe Acrobat PDF
Bioenergy from Coastal bermudagrass...
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  Gel showing Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis (RISA) profiles Microbial Community Structures in Riparian Buffer Zones: Riparian buffers are a best management practice utilized extensively in the protection of freshwater ecosystems from agriculturally generated nitrate pollution. We studied the microbial community structure of a riparian buffer zone located adjacent to areas receiving heavy nitrate loads. A microbial fingerprinting method and 16S rDNA gene sequencing were used to examine the diversity and microbial community structure of a coastal plain riparian buffer zone system.

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Last Modified: 8/13/2016
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