ARS researchers in Temple, TX, employed adaptive nutrient management to determine preferred balances on farms.
To Save More Water, Plant Corn Later
The Ogallala Aquifer is the largest aquifer in the United States and supplies about 98 percent of the Texas Panhandle’s water requirements, including agricultural irrigation. Due to its declining water levels, ARS scientists are always working to develop new and more efficient methods of water management for the region. To that end, a team of researchers with the Soil and Water Management Research Lab in Bushland, TX, and their partners have found yet another way to conserve water: late planted corn.
Using tools such as a calibrated Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model and historical climate data, the team learned that the water requirements for the late planted corn were at least 25 percent lower than their earlier planted counterparts. Despite a slight drop in grain yield, these findings indicate that the delayed planting of corn – combined with more effective irrigation management – has the potential to significantly reduce groundwater withdrawals from the Ogallala Aquifer. Ultimately, this allows irrigators to extend their groundwater resources and reduce their input costs while still meeting their production goals.
Explore Other Discoveries
Adaptive Nutrient Management
Carbon Mapping on the Go
ARS researchers have developed a unique mobile system that assesses and maps out soil carbon to a depth of 30 centimeters (the plow layer) – all in real time.
Developing Biofuel Opportunities
ARS scientists are investigating ways to ensure agriculture can produce renewable fuels that will help diminish our carbon footprint.
Elephant Grass as Bio-Feedstock
Scientists conducted research on how farm management practices could maximize elephant grass’s utility as a bioethanol feedstock.
New Standards for Analyzing Soil Health
A new protocol addresses sources of variability and uncertainty in measuring microbial community composition and its connection with agricultural management and changing climate.
Take Your Alfalfa Out to Pasture
Beef producers in the western United States have been searching for alternatives to nitrogen-rich fertilizers .
Wrangling for Resiliency
ARS researchers and the USDA Southwest Climate Hub developed a new set of tools aiming at helping farmers, ranchers, and other stakeholders plan for serious environmental challenges.