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United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 2016

CONSERVATION TILLAGE AND COVER CROPS FOR IMPROVING SUSTAINABILITY OF SEMIARID DRYLAND CROPPING SYSTEMS IN THE SOUTHWESTERN UNITED STATES

Cropping Systems Semi-Arid

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Research, Education & Economics Information system (REEIS)

Titre : CONSERVATION TILLAGE AND COVER CROPS FOR IMPROVING SUSTAINABILITY OF SEMIARID DRYLAND CROPPING SYSTEMS IN THE SOUTHWESTERN UNITED STATES

Identification : NMGhimiri-16H

Pays : Etats Unis

Durée : Apr 15, 2016 // Mar 31, 2021

Organisation Bénéficiaire : Plant and Environmental Sciences NEW MEXICO STATE UNIVERSITY

Sponsoring Institution : National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Résumé partiel
The world population is estimated to reach 9.7 billion by 2050 (United Nations, 2015). This will increase the demand for the world food production by approximately 60% of today. In an effort to increase food, forage, fiber and fuel supply to meet the increasing demand of growing population, soil and environmental quality have been considerably compromised. Typical cropping systems in the drylands of western United States use intensive tillage and long fallow period to conserve moisture for crop production (Nielsen et al., 2005). The intensive tillage-based crop-fallow system has depleted 30-60% of soil organic carbon (SOC) stock in the last century (Brown and Huggins, 2012 ; Norton et al., 2012 ; Ghimire et al., 2015). This has also caused loss of biodiversity, depletion of soil nutrients, and increased the problem of wind and water erosion (Stewart et al., 1997). The continuous decline in SOC and nutrients reservoir, biodiversity loss, and erosion negatively influenced agronomic, economic, environmental efficiency of cropping systems and threatened the sustainability of agriculture. Global climate change has added challenges on sustainable food production in the arid and semiarid regions (Lal, 2004). Semiarid agroecosystems near the lower limit of rain-fed crop production are especially vulnerable to changes in climate, input costs, and product prices, yet cover vast areas of the western US and the world (Ghimire et al., 2013). The areas under dryland production is increasing in the western United States including New Mexico because of the depletion in surface and groundwater availability for irrigation (NMDA, 2015). Producers transitioning to dryland production lack information on approaches that enhance the long-term viability, competitiveness, and efficiency in the context of changing climate and increasing economic pressure on them.Agricultural management practices that improve nutrients and water use efficiency, increase SOC sequestration and mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while maintaining crop yields can increase sustainability and profitability. Fallow has been practiced to store rainfall during the no-crop period, but the water conservation efficiency of fallowing is extremely low (Nielsen et al., 2005). Instead, extended fallow depletes SOC and increases weed infestation (Stewarts et al., 1997 ; Ghimire et al., 2015). Conservation systems that reduce or eliminate tillage and uses improved crop, soil, and water management strategies can improve the sustainability of dryland production systems and maximize ecosystem services (Nielsen et al., 2005 ; Palm et al., 2015). It is not very clear how cropping systems can benefit from conservation systems and other management strategies such as cover cropping in dryland production in the prospect of increasing water limitation, SOC loss, and climate change. This is critical in the semiarid western United States and similar dryland regions across the world where crop production and SOC accrual are constrained by low precipitation and high temperature variation. Improving soil, water, and air quality while sustaining crop yields demand more research on crop and soil management strategies to improve agronomic, economic, and environmental efficiencies in semiarid drylands. Previous work and present outlook Interest in conservation practices including reduced-tillage, crop rotation, and cover cropping has increased to restore soil quality and crop productivity lost due to intensive tillage and crop - fallow system.

Objectifs
Long-term goal : My long-term research goal is to study soil, crop, and water management strategies to improve cropping systems productivity and enhance soil environmental quality. Interdisciplinary studies that evaluate the agronomic, economic and environmental efficiency of cropping systems under different tillage and crop rotations will be examined. Specific objectives are:Objective 1 : Evaluate the effects of tillage, crop rotation, and cover cropping in dryland wheat, corn, and sorghum production.Objective 2 : Evaluate the influence of tillage, crop rotation, and cover cropping in SOC and nutrient dynamics, and soil water conservation.Objective 3 : Determine ecological and economic viability of cover cropping and other conservation strategies in the drylands of western US.

Présentation : USDA (REEIS)

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