Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Research to examine water savings in agriculture during drought

Waterworld carries a press release from Colorado State University (CSU) describing how a team of CSU agricultural and environmental scientists hopes to pinpoint best management practices in crop production to help conserve water in times of drought, and their project will provide farmers with an online tool to calculate water savings gained from different strategies.
The research project is supported with a grant of $883,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Adaptation to Drought Conservation Innovation Grant. U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., announced the funding last week.
"We are taking a systematic approach to understand how to effectively manage water in the face of scarcity," said Neil Hansen, associate professor in the CSU Department of Soil and Crop Sciences and project leader. "We want to maximize crop per drop, meaning crop yield per gallon of water. Water is short, and we've got to get as much as we can from the little we've got."
The project will examine water-saving benefits gained with adjustments in:
  • Crop management, including use of cover cropping and drought-tolerant crop varieties;
  • Soil management, including conservation tillage and soil amendments; and
  • Irrigation management, including scheduling and variable rate irrigation, which uses space-based technologies to tailor water application to varying needs within a field.
  • The project also will employ sensors to track soil moisture and crop stress.

Read the full press release on the Waterworld website here.