Rio Grande Basin Initiative

2006-07 Deliverables

Task 4 Extension
Principal Investigator(s): Wyatte Harman

We mutually agree for Wyatte Harman to deliver the following during June 1, 2006 to May 31, 2007, using funds from the Rio Grande Basin Initiative:

  1. Perform on-farm crop monitoring/demonstrations of corn, grain sorghum and cotton growers in Cameron County and in collaboration with area TCE Agents/Specialists. Two fields per grower will be monitored. Growers include: Charles Loop and Edward Mathers. TCE agents/specialists include: Drs. Enrique Perez, Juan Enciso.
    1. 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).
    2. Receive weekly crop management and precipitation updates (including metered irrigation) for demonstration from growers. Perform CroPMan/EPIC analysis of soil and crop water status using weekly updates and report findings to growers to aid irrigation management.
    3. Compare actual versus CroPMan/EPIC stimulated crop yields and water-use for monitored fields.
    4. Use CroPMan/EPIC to identify alternative cropping and/or management strategies to reduce irrigation water-use 20 percent.
    5. Document findings in TAMU Ag Communications Bulletins.
  2. Sugarcane generates some of the highest returns of all crops grown in the LRGV. They also have the highest irrigation water requirement. Sugarcane is also quite sensitive to salinity.
    1. Using cropping practice data gathered from previous research in the LRGV, further validate CroPMan/EPIC for growth of sugarcane in the LRGV. Then, use CroPMan/EPIC to evaluate the impact of low-volume sprinkler and buried drip irrigation on crop production, crop water-use and change in soil salinity. Determine if annual precipitation, alone, can minimize alleviate salt accumulation in soil, or if periodic flood irrigation is required to leach accumulating salts below the root zone. Determine possible water savings from irrigation in switching from flood to sprinkler and/or buried drip. Collaborators: Dr. Juan Enciso, Bob Wiedenfeld.
  3. Compare the capability of crop simulation models, direct soil measurements and Crop ET approaches for estimating crop water-use for irrigation scheduling. Evaluate CroPMan and Crop ET estimates of crop water-use with estimates from continuously weighing lysimeters and with estimates from soil water depletion using watermark sensors, neutron gauges. Collaborators: Giovanni Piccinni and Charles Stichler, Uvalde.
  4. Develop a real-time web-based soil water management tool to aid in irrigation management for corn, cotton and sugarcane in Starr, Willacy, Cameron and Hidalgo counties in collaboration with area TCE agents/specialists and a panel of producers. Users will be asked to input crop type, planting date, soil type, irrigation dates and amounts and up-to-date weather data (precipitation). In response, they will receive soil water content and project yield at current date, as well as forecasted soil water content and projected yield at one week from current date. Possible producers to be included on the panel are Charles Loop, Sam Simmons, Wayne Halbert, Edward Mathers and Ben Hanawa. Collaborators include: Enrique Perez, Juan Enciso, Luis Ribera and Bob Wiedenfeld.
    1. Collaborate with TCE agents/specialists, research scientists and a producer panel to design a real-time web-based soil water management tool in order to make it most useful to users
    2. Using CroPMan model, develop a real-time web-based tool for in-season irrigation management to include capability to input/select crop type, planting date, soil type, up-to-date irrigation dates and amounts, and up-to-date weather (precipitation) data.
  5. Conduct two or three educational events related to use of CroPMan/WinEPIC and the new real-time soil water management tool in order to manage water-use and salinity in crop production systems of the Rio Grande Valley.
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