Source: UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA submitted to
INTEGRATION OF ALTERNATIVE SUMMER LEGUME FORAGE CROPS INTO CROPPING SYSTEMS IN ARIZONA
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
NEW
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0218020
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
ARZT-1360280-H25-208
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Jul 1, 2009
Project End Date
Sep 30, 2013
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
Wang, G.
Recipient Organization
UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA
(N/A)
TUCSON,AZ 85721
Performing Department
Plant Science
Non Technical Summary
With fewer of the restrictions that hinder production in areas more adjacent to urban populations, Arizona has seen an increase in livestock industry. Our desert clientele see dairy and beef as alternatives that allow them to diversify and maintain profitability. However, hot summers induce alfalfa to suffer a "summer slump" that slows growth and reduces forage quality. The most common annual summer crops to supplement forage demand, sudangrass and maize, produce lower quality forage, require more fertilizer, and often have adverse effects on subsequent rotational crops. Growers have asked that we find potential solutions that would sustain forage production and improve crop diversity and productivity. We will investigate the potential of several legume crops as forage, their fit in current production systems, and intercropping these legumes with maize in Arizona. Alternative legume forage crops, such as lablab (Lablab purpureus), cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), and pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan) will be planted in early summer and regularly harvested to evaluate quality and yield. A bare ground treatment will also be included in the study as a control, and all treatments will be followed by a fall planting of wheat. Pre- and post-plant soil nitrogen will be measured, as well as the nutrient status of the wheat crop. Field experiments at research stations in the 1st and 2nd year will quantify yield and quality of these forage crops and their effects on the following rotational crop. We will work with participating growers to conduct an economic analysis to help choose the best alternatives for farms typical of the region. After legumes with high quality and yield are identified in the environment of Arizona and southern California, on-farm trials will be conducted in the 2nd and 3rd year with participating growers to investigate the potential of the legumes crops alone and intercropping these legumes with maize to improve the quality of grass forages. Research findings will be disseminated to growers and other agricultural professionals by field days, presentations at grower meetings, one to one communications, and extension publications. Growers will participate by providing fields for trials, helping develop experimental plans and give feedback on results, and advise research scientists on the future direction of the project. We expect that growers will adopt more annual legume forage crops into their current cropping system to increase sustainability of by improving soil fertility, increasing growers' profitability, and increasing system diversification in the region.
Animal Health Component
(N/A)
Research Effort Categories
Basic
(N/A)
Applied
(N/A)
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
1021545106030%
1021649106070%
Goals / Objectives
Decades of research has not found a way for desert alfalfa to avoid "summer slump," which is why growers want to see experiments to investigate the potential of alternative summer legumes and intercropping these legumes with maize. Therefore, the general objective of the present proposal is to assess the introduction of summer legume forage crops into current cropping system in Arizona and their effects on growers' profitability. The specific objectives include: 1. Consult with growers to select alternative forage crops. 2. Work with growers and other clientele to conduct replicated experiments to provide them the needed knowledge to evaluate forage and rotation options. 3. Conduct on-farm experiments and field days to help growers evaluate the practicality of alternatives and intercropping the alternatives with maize for their specific farm enterprise. 4. Perform economic analyses to select the best option for growers. 5. Raise awareness of rotation options and experimental results through field days, grower meetings, in county newsletters and other publications, and on websites. Expected outputs include that growers will be more willing to incorporate legume forage into their current cropping systems or to intercrop these legumes with cereal silage such as sudangrass or corn. We anticipate that incorporating legumes into current systems will ultimately prove to be economically feasible and that growers will benefit from the diversified cropping systems as a result of information obtained from the proposed project.
Project Methods
One-to-one meetings with growers will be established from the beginning of the project. The purpose of these initial meetings is to get better acquainted with growers' current farming practices and difficulties, and to consult with growers to select potential alternative legume crops. Three or more legume species, including lablab, pigeon pea, cowpea (Cultivar CC-36 and Iron Clay) will be planted at Maricopa Ag Center in AZ in June of 2008 and 2009. A bare ground control will also be included in the study. The forage crops will be managed using best management practices that participating growers deem practical. Only phosphorous fertilizer will be applied to the legumes when pre-plant soil analysis shows that it is necessary. At 3 months after planting, forage crops will be harvested for yield evaluation. Forage quality will be assessed by analyzing nutrient content (crude protein, ash, neutral detergent fiber (NDF), acid detergent fiber (ADF)). Following forage crops, wheat will be planted as the rotational crop in November of 2009 and 2010. Growth and yield of the wheat crop will be recorded for analysis. Soil nitrogen content will be measured pre- and post-planting of forage crops and wheat. Nutrient status of wheat will also be monitored periodically to investigate the effects of legume forage crops on soil nutrients and wheat yield. On-farm experiments will be conducted in one or two forage growers' fields in 2010 and 2011 to investigate the potential of incorporating the best-fit legume crop and intercropping the legume with maize. The five treatments include legume monoculture, maize monoculture, and three combinations of the legume with maize. Summer forages will be planted in late June of 2010 and 2011 and harvested in mid-October. The rotation crop will be winter wheat. Biomass growth of summer forages and soil fertility will be monitored during the experiment. Forage yield will be recorded and forage quality analyzed. A field day will be conducted in the middle of September to invite a larger group of growers inform them on the progress and adoptable results from the project. Detailed management records for the study sites will be kept by the researchers and used to evaluate the total cost and profitability of incorporating the summer forage crops into the cropping systems and intercropping legumes and grass forage crops. We expect that this economic analysis will help growers understand the profitability of incorporating legumes forage crops into their cropping systems. Grower education will begin with consultation with growers before the project and continue throughout the project to include face-to-face communication with growers, articles, and talks discussing the current state of knowledge. Information dissemination will then continue with field days at both research stations and farms to disseminate information to growers and other agricultural personnel.

Progress 01/01/12 to 12/31/12

Outputs
OUTPUTS: Six cover crops (oats, triticale, snow pea, hairy vetch, forage kale, turnip) were planted in late 2011 and grown in early 2012 in producers' field in Marana and Safford. These projects were used to demonstrate the benefits of cover crops in cotton production. The results were disseminated in pre-season cotton extension meetings (the results from 2011 were presented in the 2012 cotton pre-season meeting and the results from 2012 were presented to farmers in the 2013 pre-season meetings). PARTICIPANTS: USDA-NRCS: Bruce Munda and Art Meen Univ. of Arizona: Randy Norton TARGET AUDIENCES: We used field demonstration and extension presentation to increase producers' knowledge and change their behavior. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: We changed focus on summer forage legumes to legume and other cover crops for cotton.

Impacts
In 2012, a producer at Marana (Gary Dean) planted 75 acres of hairy vetch and 75 acres of triticale as cover crops for cotton as a result of our demonstration and presentation. Unfortunately the cotton crop was injured by hail storm and we could not determine the impact. In addition, the cover crop acerage in Wilcox area has increased 5,000 acres since 2010 as a result of joint effort between my group and NRCS scientists.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 01/01/11 to 12/31/11

Outputs
OUTPUTS: Three field experiments were conducted at Safford, Elfrida, and Marana in 2010-2011 to evaluate potential of several cover crops on cotton production. Snow pea, hairy vetch, forage kale, turnip, oats, and triticale were planted in November, 2010 to Feb, 2011. Cotton yield will be evaluated in November, 2011. PARTICIPANTS: Randy Norton, University of Arizona Bruce Menda, NRCS Art Meen, NRCS Jeff Foster, NRCS Lance Layton, Grower Dan White, Grower Tom Clark, Grower TARGET AUDIENCES: Cotton producers PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: The project has been changed from focus on alternative forage crops to cover cropping using these forage crops.

Impacts
The cover crop recommendations are shared with growers.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 10/01/08 to 10/01/09

Outputs
OUTPUTS: A field experiment was conducted in the summer of 2008 and 2009 to evaluate potential of several legume forage crops at University of Arizona Maricopa Ag Center. lablab (Lablab purpureus), two varieties of cowpeas (Vigna unguiculata), pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan), alyceclover (Alysicarpus vaginalis), lespedezas (Kummerowia striata, K. stipulacea), and sesbania (Sesbania exaltata) was planted in late June at the station. Sudangrass was also planted as a control treatment. Forage yield and quality were analyzed after harvest. Regrowth of the crops was also evaluated. The results were presented at an extension meeting toward to Gila River Indian Reservation growers on alternative annual summer legume forage crops on 10/30/2008. About ten growers was also informed the results from the project via one-on-one communications. PARTICIPANTS: Wang, Guangyao: PI TARGET AUDIENCES: All growers in Arizona are target audiences of this project. The results were also presented to a group of Gila River Indian Reservation growers. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: No change.

Impacts
About 25 growers and extension personnel learned the project due to extension meeting at Gila River Indian Reservation and one-on-one communication on alternative annual summer legume forage crops. Growers are aware of possible alternative summer forage crops that can be incorporated into their cropping systems after a wheat crop. Several vegetable growers are also interested in using some of these crops (lablab, cowpea, and sesbania) as summer cover crops in their field.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period