SP 7 - Cropping systems and technology

The overall goal of this subproject is:

the development of a long-term sustainable cropping system for the Kulunda Region. The project outcome will be a reversal of the current trends of soil degradation from wind and water erosion due to unnecessary tillage to a development of more appropriate production practices that will sustain and even enhance soil productivity.

The project will focus on identifying and analyzing the problems of current production practices. This will be followed by an evaluation of various soil and crop management practices that not only protect but enhance the soil resource gathered from other environments around the world with comparable soils and climates. Specific attention will be given to the Northern Great Plains of North America. Soil and crop management practices will focus specifically on no-till seeding technology, weed and fertilizer management. Weed management practices will focus on pre-seeding and in-crop herbicide applications as a function of weed spectrum and herbicide availability in the Kulunda Region and fertilizer management will focus on placement and rates. The second focus is on nutrient cycles, energy indicators and effects on farm level biodiversity. This will allow an evaluation of different cropping systems according to sustainability measures and compare that with real farm data of the different regions of the Kulunda. Special emphasis will also be placed on the development of transitioning strategies from the current to the new and more sustainable soil and crop management systems. The direct cooperation with partners, who have extensive knowledge and experience with these new cropping practices will ensure a greater likelihood of success and allow for more immediate problem solving capacity.