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Book: Challenges and Strategies of Dryland Agriculture
Published by: Crop Science Society of America and American Society of Agronomy



  1.  p. 25-34
    CSSA Special Publication 32.
    Challenges and Strategies of Dryland Agriculture

    Srinivas C. Rao and John Ryan (ed.)

    ISBN: 978-0-89118-611-3


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USDA-ARS Research and Development for Sustainable Dryland Agriculture

  1. Srinivas C. Rao,
  2. Herman S. Mayeux and
  3. Allen R. Dedrick
  1. USDA, ARS, Grazing lands Research Laboratory, El Reno, Oklahoma
    USDA, ARS, National Program Staff, Beltsville, Maryland


Continued or enhanced competition for water and rising costs of irrigation underscore predictions that additional food required by a growing population must be provided in large part by more efficient and productive dry lands. Much progress was made in the last century by USDA-ARS and its partners in improving water conservation, water-use efficiency, and the productivity of dry land crops. Conservation tillage with surface residue cover enhances water infiltration, reduces evaporation, and protects soils from erosion. New crop cultivars with short statures, deep and extensive root systems, and reduced growing seasons will play an important role in avoiding drought. New technologies such as remote sensing of soil water content and long-term weather outlooks present numerous opportunities for reducing risks in dryland agriculture. Advances in biotechnology have only begun to provide novel approaches to the development of drought-tolerant agricultural crops. These and other technologies continue to provide opportunities to achieve efficiency and profitability in dry land agriculture, and will continue to be the focus of the USDA-ARS research program.

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