Development of Ecologically-Sound Pest, Water and Soil Management Practices for Northern Great Plains Cropping Systems
Agricultural Systems Research Unit
Project Number: 5436-13210-006-00
Start Date: Aug 05, 2013
End Date: Aug 04, 2018
1. Develop and provide guidance for the use of sustainable crop production strategies for long-term irrigated crop production systems with increased crop diversity and conservation tillage practices to improve water productivity, nitrogen (N) use efficiencies and reduce pesticide use in ways that enhance ecosystem services that reduce economic and environmental risk while maintaining high levels of crop production.
Subobjective 1.1. Develop diverse sprinkler irrigated cropping systems that include bioenergy and legume crops to improve farm economic and environmental sustainability by enhancing system productivity and input efficiency.
Subobjective 1.2. Evaluate the effect of crop residue removal in sprinkler irrigated cropping systems on cropping system productivity, C and N sequestration and microbial biomass and activity.
Subobjective 1.3. Evaluate the effect of tillage practices on sprinkler irrigated cropping system productivity, C and N sequestration, microbial biomass and activity, crop water productivity, N use efficiency and soil physical properties.
2. Develop sustainable, biologically based cost-effective control strategies for management of specific plant diseases that currently limit productivity in NGP cropping systems.
Subobjective 2.1. Develop biocontrol based management using specific Trichoderma species to manage Cercospera leaf spot in sugarbeet and net blotch in barley in NGP cropping systems.
Subobjective 2.2. Evaluate the effects of oilseed crops on microbial communities that impact soilborne pathogens in NGP dryland cropping systems.
3. Develop no-till sustainable crop production strategies for long-term dryland crop production systems using diverse crop rotations that include cereals, pulse crops, oilseeds and other bioenergy crops to improve water productivity, N use efficiency and enhance ecosystem services that reduce economic and environmental risks while maintaining high levels of crop production.
Subobjective 3.1. Develop no-till diversified dryland crop rotations that include cereal, pulse and oilseed crops and that increase crop water productivity, N-use efficiency, soil quality and whole-farm economic competitiveness while maintaining yield and quality of the individual crops.
Subobjective 3.2. Determine the sequence of cereal, pulse and oilseed crops in no-till dryland rotations that optimizes yield, crop water productivity, and N-use efficiency.
Agriculture is facing major challenges in providing food, fiber, and fuel to a growing population with limited land and water resources. With rising incomes, longer life spans, changes in dietary preferences, and demands for improved nutrition, pressures are mounting to double agricultural production by 2050. In the Northern Great Plains, traditional dryland cropping systems that include conventional tillage with crop-fallow are uneconomical and unsustainable. Also, with the availability of unallocated irrigation water in the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers, areas under irrigated cropping systems are poised to increase in the MonDak region (eastern Montana, western North Dakota), resulting in new markets and potential for increased crop diversity. To address these critical issues, best practices for conservation tillage and diversified dryland and irrigated cropping systems must be developed. Our proposed research addresses these needs by utilizing cropping system trials to develop scientifically-sound, diversified dryland and irrigated cropping strategies that: (1) improve management of water, soil, nutrients, and agrochemicals through increased efficiency, (2) diversify crop rotations to include cereals, pulse, oilseed, and bioethanol crops, (3) utilize biological control and cultural management for reduced infestation of pests, diseases, and weeds, and (4) increase net farm productivity. Successful completion of this project will provide stakeholders and customers with tools to reduce labor, water, input, and energy requirements while increasing crop yield and quality and improving soil and environmental quality. These tools will be transferred to stakeholders through research paper publications, field tours, focus group meetings, agricultural fairs, bulletins, websites, and other outreach activities.