3rd UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Joshua Thompson
Session Name Posters - Water Conservation and Use 1
Category Water Conservation and Use
Poster Number 75
Author(s) Joshua Thompson,  Graduate Assistant (Presenting Author)
  The Use of Primed Acclimation and Reduced Tillage to Increase Water Use Efficiency in Peanut and Cotton Production Systems
  Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) and upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) are crops well adapted to the southeastern United States, with over 1.2 million acres of peanut and 3 million acres of cotton harvested in 2007 (USDA Ag. census, 2007). A major factor that is currently affecting the profitability and sustainability of these two crops is water. Reduced tillage has been shown to increase soil water infiltration, increase soil water content, reduce bulk density and reduce soil compaction. Additionally, reduced tillage has been shown to increase yields in peanut and cotton. Adjusting irrigation scheduling may be another way to decrease water inputs and increase water use efficiency. Unpublished data on peanut and cotton from Texas and Georgia suggest that it is possible to place a mild water stress on a crop (less than full evapo-transpiration replacement) during the early part of the growing season without having negative effects on yield. This strategy has been termed primed acclimation (PA) and seems to change the physiology of the crop to have a deeper rooting depth and more prolific roots by decreasing the carbon allocation ratio of shoots to roots, while saving water. To further validate the efficacy of these management strategies for water conservation, a large research project is being conducted at the University of Florida, Plant Science Research and Education Unit. The treatments being tested consist of conventional and strip tillage (reduced tillage), as well as irrigation treatments that apply 100%, 60%, 60PA (60% during vegetative growth and 100% during reproductive growth), and 0% of evapotranspiration. To characterize the environmental and physiological responses to these treatments, we will be measuring soil moisture and temperature, canopy temperature, root architecture, canopy development, and fruiting rate in peanut. We hypothesize that the combination of reduced tillage and PA will allow for the greatest water savings and highest yields.