Building Soils for Better Crops, Third Edition

Summary and Sources

Overview

Summary

Irrigation and drainage allow for high yields in areas that otherwise have shortages or excesses of water. There is no doubt that we need such water management practices to secure a food supply for a growing population and provide the high yields needed to arrest the conversion of natural lands into agriculture. Some of the most productive lands use drainage and/or irrigation, and the ability to control water regimes provides great advantages. Yet there is a larger context: These practices exact a price on the environment by diverting water from its natural course and increasing the potential for soil and water contamination. Good management practices can be used to reduce the impacts of altered water regimes. Building healthy soils is an important component of making soil and water management more sustainable by reducing the need for irrigation and drainage. In addition, other practices that promote more judicious use of water and chemical inputs help reduce environmental impacts.

Sources

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Geohring, L.D., and H.M. van Es. 1994. Soil hydrology and liquid manure applications. In Liquid Manure Application Systems: Design, Management, and Environmental Assessment. Publication no. 79. Ithaca, NY: Natural Resource, Agricultural, and Engineering Service.

Hudson, B.E. 1994. Soil organic matter and available water capacity. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 49: 189–194.

McKay, M., and D.S. Wilks. 1995. Atlas of Short-Duration Precipitation Extremes for the Northeastern United States and Southeastern Canada. Northeast Regional Climate Center Research Publication RR 95-1, 26 pp.

Moebius, B.N., H.M. van Es, J.O. Idowu, R.R. Schindelbeck, D.J. Clune, D.W. Wolfe, G.S. Abawi, J.E. Thies, B.K. Gugino, and R. Lucey. 2008. Long-term removal of maize residue for bioenergy: Will it affect soil quality? Soil Science Society of America Journal 72: 960–969.

Montgomery, D. 2007. Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Siebert, S., P. Döll, J. Hoogeveen, J-M. Faures, K. Frenken, and S. Feick. 2005. Development and validation of the global map of irrigation areas. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 9: 535–547.

Sullivan, P. 2002. Drought resistant soil. Agronomy Technical Note. Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas. Fayetteville, AR: National Center for Appropriate Technology.

van Es, H.M., T.S. Steenhuis, L.D. Geohring, J. Vermeulen, and J. Boll. 1991. Movement of surface-applied and soil-embodied chemicals to drainage lines in a well-structured soil. In Preferential Flow, ed. T.J. Gish and A. Shirmohammadi, pp. 59–67. St. Joseph, MI: American Society of Agricultural Engineering.

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