Rio Grande Basin Initiative

2004-05 Deliverables

Task 4 Extension
Principal Investigator(s): Thomas Gerik, Monty Dozier

  1. Perform on-farm crop monitoring/demonstrations in concert with corn, grain sorghum and cotton growers in Cameron and Hildago Counties and in collaboration with area TCE Agents/Specialists. Growers include: Charles Loop, Richard Plata, Ovi Atkinson, Edward Mathers, and Bruce Gamble. TCE agents/specialist include: Drs. Enrique Perez, Juan Enciso. Two fields per grower will be monitored.
    a. Document crop water use, crop water use efficiency, and crop yield relationships using current cropping and irrigation practices for the prevailing management (i.e., single crop per year, furrow irrigation and conventional tillage) and alternative systems (double crop, furrow or buried drip irrigation and conservation tillage).
    b. Receive weekly crop management precipitation updates (including metered irrigation) for demonstration from growers. Perform CroPMan analyses of soil and crop water status using weekly updates and report findings to growers to aid irrigation management.
    c. Compare actual versus simulated yields and water use for monitored fields.
    d. Use CroPMan to identify alternative cropping and/or management strategies to reduce irrigation water use 20%.
    e. Document findings in TCE Goldmine and TAMU Ag Communication Bulletins, so results are available to LRGV growers and extension agents.
  2. Perennial crops, such as sugarcane generate the highest returns of all crops grown in the LRGV. They also have the highest irrigation water requirements. Both crops are quite sensitive to salinity.
    a. We will adapt CroPMan to simulate Sugarcane and to test/validate crop parameters to simulate sugarcane in the LRGV.
    b. We will use CroPMan to evaluate the impact of low volume sprinkler and buried drip irrigation on crop production, crop water use, and changes in soil salinity.
    c. We will determine if annual precipitation, alone, can minimize or alleviate salt accumulation in soil, or if periodic flood irrigation is required to leach accumulating salts below the root zone. Collaborators: Dr. Juan Enciso, Bob Wiedenfeld.
  3. Conduct two educational events related to use of CroPMan to manage water use and salinity in crop production systems of the Rio Grande Valley.
  4. Publish extension articles on cotton, corn, and grain sorghum water requirements and production, and on effects of alternative cropping systems (e.g. single versus double cropping, conservation tillage, and planting dates) on crop water use/irrigation water requirements. Material will be distributed to extension agents and area growers.
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