Research Projects1. NMSU Initiative on Carbon Management and Soil Health
2. Soil Health Framework for Water-Limited regions
3. Conservation Systems in Drylands
Cropping systems that reduce or eliminate tillage and improve crop, soil, and water management strategies can enhance soil health and agricultural sustainability in the semiarid southwestern USA. We evaluate tillage systems, crop rotations, and other novel cropping strategies to improve soil health, reduce soil erosion, and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from diverse crop rotations.
4. Cover Crops for Cropping System Diversification
Typical cropping systems in the western United States use intensive tillage and a long fallow period to conserve moisture for crop production. Cropping system diversification through cover crops and alternative crops could improve soil health, water conservation, and sustainable crop production. We are evaluating the effects of various cover crops on soil properties, water conservation, and soil microbial community structure in different crop and forage production systems.
5. Optimizing Water Use for Sustainable Food Systems
The Ogallala Aquifer, one of the largest freshwater aquifers in the world, impacts global food supplies. However, a rapid decline in water level in the aquifer and climate change considerably affected agricultural systems in the High Plains region. We are collaborating with researchers, extension specialists, and other stakeholders from 6 states, 9 institutions, and 6 hub agricultural experiment stations to conduct regional research on the issues of water decline and long-term agricultural sustainability in the High Plains region. More information: http://www.ogallalawater.org/
6. Soil Sustainability in Changing Climate
Improved management practices that minimize disturbance, increase diversity in crop residue and nutrient inputs, and provide a consistent environment for microbial proliferation can accumulate more soil organic matter, a storehouse of nutrients. Soil organic matter also increases water holding capacity, pH buffering, soil aggregation and aggregate stability, and infiltration. We are working with researchers across the southern High Plains region to sustainably increase agricultural productivity while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing resilience and adaptation to climate change. More information: https://arid.nmsu.edu/
7. Forage Systems Project
Irrigated cropping systems in eastern New Mexico are mainly forage-based systems (e.g., silage corn and sorghum followed by winter wheat/triticale in a continuous cropping scenario). These intensively managed systems traditionally utilize annual cereal crops and exhaustive soils. Cover crops or alternative crops could promote crop diversity and improve soil health while increasing yields and forage quality. Information is limited on cover cropping practices and their impacts on soil water conservation, soil health, and farm profitability in forage-based systems. We evaluate how cover crops improve soil health, forage production, and the nutritive value of corn and sorghum silage.
8. Sustainable Farming Systems in Nepal
Sustainable crop production in Nepal is continuously challenged by environmental and economic pressures on farmers. We are working on research and demonstration projects that benefit farmers through improved soil management and integrated pest management practices on soil health and the agricultural sustainability of small-holder farming in Nepal. More information is also available at http://www.cardnepal.org/ongoing-projects.html.