1. Conservation tillage and crop diversification in drylands
Conservation 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. We are evaluating conservation tillage systems and diverse cropping to improve sustainability of dryland corn-sorghum rotation.
2. Cover crops in limited-irrigated cropping systems
Typical cropping systems in the drylands of the western United States use intensive tillage and long fallow period to conserve moisture for crop production. We are evaluating the effects of cover crops (as fallow replacement crop) on soil properties, water conservation, and soil microbial community structure in eastern New Mexico.
3. 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 reveal 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.
4. Optimizing water use to sustain food systems
The Ogallala Aquifer, one of the largest freshwater aquifers in the world, supports 30% of U.S. crop and animal production, increases 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. In 2015, a team of over 40 university researchers, extension specialists, and industry and farmer stakeholders were assembled from 6 states, 9 institutions, and 6 hub agricultural experiment stations to begin an organized, regional research and outreach effort for helping solve the issues of water decline and long-term agricultural sustainability in the High Plains. We participate on this multidisciplinary multi-institution project and represent NMSU ASC-Clovis hub site. More information about the project: http://www.ogallalawater.org/
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.