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Objective 1: Improve nutrient and water use efficiency in row and alternative cropping systems.Controlled release fertilizer studies will quantify nutrient release under field and laboratory conditions and be implemented under different cropping systems in order to determine if they can be used to improve NUE, crop yield, and yield components.WUE efficiencies may be improved using data-based decision support tools, such as the Smart Irrigation apps and the PeanutFARM assessment tool, so that irrigation guesswork may be replaced with data-driven technologies. Other technologies, such as cover cropping, may conserve soil water under rainfed systems. Skip-row crop production in the region has not been investigated, though it has had some success in other parts of the country, and may improve WUE, particularly under a rainfed system on sandy soils, such as those in the Florida panhandle. Combinations of these technologies are expected to have additive effects on WUE.Objective 2: Integrate rotations and permanent soil cover into cropping systems.Cover crops are known to improve soil health and nutrient cycling, increase soil organic matter, reduce weed populations, and have potential to increase farm income. Cover cropping systems that are economically and agronomically viable are needed in order to increase farm sustainability on low organic matter, sandy soils prevalent in the Florida panhandle. We propose to develop cropping systems that integrate cover crops into prevalent crop rotations of the region.Objective 3. Diversify cropping systems in the Southeast.We will investigate the agronomic viability of alternative crops for the region, including alternative row crops, such as soybean or edamame (Glycine max (L.) Merr.), carinata (Brassica carinata A. Braun), sesame (Sesamum L.), and hemp (Cannabis sativa L.), as well as alternative tree cropping systems such as olive (Olea europaea L.).

Mulvaney, Mi, Jo.
University of Florida
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