SERA020: Southern Conservation Tillage Systems Conference
- October 01, 2009 to September 30, 2014
- Administrative Advisor(s):
Tim L Cross
Jonathan W Pote (MIS) - Research
- NIFA Reps:
Mary Ann Rozum
Statement of Issue(s) and Justification:The development of sustainable farming systems is needed to ensure an adequate food and fiber supply for the United States and the rest of the world. Conservation tillage systems have been used for a variety of crops in the southern United States. These new practices have brought about considerable changes in production systems in the region. The scientific community, farmers, consultants, and other practitioners continue to debate the role and impact of conservation tillage production systems on crop production, the environment, and the farm economy. Thus, there is a need to continue to collect and disseminate data on how conservation tillage management can be used to enhance sustainability.
Many positive impacts of conservation tillage production have been documented. These include reduced sediment load in surface waters, reduced wind erosion, improved soil physical properties and tilth, and water conservation. Economic benefits of conservation tillage have been documented in circumstances where crop yields are maintained or increased when compared with conventional tillage. The ability to efficiently transition to reduced tillage systems has also been aided by development and a release of herbicide-resistant crops and improvement in conservation tillage equipment. However, the use (and perhaps misuse) of herbicide-resistant crops may have created weeds that are now resistant to the herbicides that many producers use for their conservation tillage systems. Development of technologies for new conservation systems will continue to be compared between conventional and conservation tillage systems in the southern United States.
One method to disseminate the information on conservation tillage systems has been an annual Southern Conservation Agriculture Systems Conference (SCASC). This conference has been an extremely useful forum for discussing problems related to conservation tillage technology. New and continuing questions that need to be addressed include defining shifts in pest populations, including weeds, insects, disease, and nematodes, in reduced tillage systems continues to be an important component of research efforts in the southern region. The role of transgenic crops and the flexibility they offer in conservation tillage systems continues to be documented in the southern region. Potential resistance of weeds to herbicides such as glyphosate will be an important issue for practitioners to deal with in the future. Increased use of fossil fuels and pesticides requires research to lessen the impact on the economy and the environment. As the world looks towards carbon sequestration and carbon markets, research is needed to better calculate the benefits and total carbon stored as a result of using conservation tillage with cover crops as the base. Also, conservation systems for production of bioenergy crops may need to be developed to ensure adequate soil protection as all crop residues (including cover crops) are being considered suitable for harvest.
Concerns continue to exist relative to environmental effects of tillage systems on surface and groundwater contamination and nutrient loss. The impact of nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen on sensitive watersheds continues to be at the forefront of crop production systems. Enhancing the understanding of relationships between tillage systems, fertilizer amendments, and environmental impact will help predict potential problems and will assist growers and their advisors develop solutions
- The primary mission of the SCASC is to provide a venue for exchanging information about conservation systems and related technology between and among researchers, extension personnel, NRCS personnel, crop consultants, agrochemical companies, and farmers.
- The overall objective of the SCASC is to expand the conservation systems in the southern United States for the purposes of controlling erosion and reducing environmental degradation, improve existing conservation tillage systems, increase water management, and to determine when conservation systems are sustainable.
Procedures and ActivitiesWe will conduct an Annual Southern Conservation Agriculture Systems Conference that will be hosted by different states in the region.
Expected Outcomes and Impacts:
- A formal technical meeting and field tour will be held annually to allow exchange of information among key parties. The technical program and the field tour will be rotated among participating states. Proceedings of technical papers and posters will be published and placed on the Web Site.
- The Conference will be held annually at various locations across the southern region of the United States. Host Southern Land Grant agricultural institutions/colleges will, through a steering committee, make meeting arrangements, provide meeting publicity, and assume the leadership in publishing the Proceedings. The steering committee consists of 20 to 30 persons representing Land Grant Institutions, USDA-ARS, NRCS, industry, and the agricultural press. The conferences will usually include poster sessions, technical paper presentations, a field tour, and distribution of Proceedings during registration. Expansion of conservation tillage systems in the southern region will be promoted to minimize soil and wind erosion, reduce environmental degradation, and increase sustainability of crop production systems. This will be accomplished through the SCASC by:; a) Providing a forum for and fostering exchange of conservation tillage and sustainable agriculture related information and ideas among farmers, researches, action agencies, extension specialists and agents, and industry, b)Providing a multi-disciplinary, multi-state, and industry cooperation in addressing conservation systems issues, c) Promoting the investigation of researchable problems including: developing conservation systems for crops for which acceptable systems have not been developed; improve soil quality by increasing residue production; reducing soil compaction; enhancing biotechnology and pest management options for many crops; utilizing animal and municipal wastes in crop productions systems; improving efficiency of pesticide and nutrient use while minimizing environmental degradation; and understanding interactions among soil and related organisms in conservation tillage systems, and. d)Providing a venue for discussions and exchange of information among participating parties to promote adoption of conservation practices that reduce soil erosion and environmental degradation and refinement of conservation systems. Multi-state collaborative efforts have historically grown out of exchanges among scientist at the annual meeting of the SCTSC. These efforts have greatly increased the efficiency of research efforts and the ability to disseminate needed information more quickly to clientele.
Project Participation:Include a completed Appendix E form
Conduct a minimum of one SCASC conference in a sponsoring location in the Southern Region of the US.
The organization and steering committee is comprised of members from all states in the Southern Region. The Land Grant Institutions with participating members are : AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, North Carolina Cooperative Extension, OK, OR, SC, TN, TX, VA. The Non-Land Grant Participating States/Institutions are: ARS, USDA, ARS, USDA-ARS/Georgia
s:/Jonathan W Pote
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