1. Conservation systems
Cropping systems that reduce or eliminate tillage and uses improved crop, soil, and water management strategies may help in improving the sustainability of dryland cropping systems in the southern High Plains region. We are evaluating conservation tillage systems under diverse cropping practices to improve the sustainability of dryland crop rotations.
2. Cover cropping and crop diversification
Typical cropping systems in the western United States use intensive tillage and long fallow period to conserve moisture for crop production. Cover cropping and crop diversification could improve soil health, water conservation, and sustainable crop production in dryland and limited irrigation cropping systems. We are evaluating the effects of cover crops on soil properties, water conservation, and soil microbial community structure in a crop and forage production systems in the eastern New Mexico
3. Optimizing water use for sustainable food systems
The Ogallala Aquifer, one of the largest freshwater aquifers in the world, supports 30% of U.S. crop and animal production, increase agricultural production by more than $12 billion annually, and impacts global food supplies. However, Ogallala water is rapidly declining, agricultural systems are not sustainable, and climate change will only compound the challenges. We are collaborating with more than 40 university researchers, extension specialists, and industry and farmer stakeholders from 6 states, 9 institutions, and 6 hub agricultural experiment stations to conduct regional research and outreach efforts for helping solve the issues of water decline and long-term agricultural sustainability in the High Plains region. More information about the project: http://www.ogallalawater.org/
4. Sustainable farming systems in Nepal
Sustainable crop production in Nepal is continuously challenged by environmental and economic pressures on farmers. We are working on a research and demonstration project in support of USAID Horticulture Innovation Lab that reveals the benefits of improved soil management and integrated pest management practices on soil health and agricultural sustainability of small-holder farming in Nepal. More information is also available at http://www.cardnepal.org/ongoing-projects.html.
5. Stubble management and soil quality
Current forage corn production system in New Mexico leaves little stubble (<6” corn cutting height) in field leaving soil exposed to wind and water erosion. Forage corn is grown in 30-inch row spacing and 6- to 12-months fallow period is a common practice in the state where irrigation water is limited. This project will demonstrate the benefits of stubble management on forage quality and thereby livestock productivity as well as soil fertility and air and water quality.