Western Kansas Agricultural Research Centers
Cropping Systems


RAiken>Rob Aiken presenting at Fall Field Day
Rob Aiken - NWREC Fall Field Day


Current Projects

Project 1. Objective: Identify critical traits and germplasm sources in sorghum for rapid emergence, vigorous growth and transpiration efficiency under chilling conditions (13 degrees C or 55  degrees F soil planting temperature).

Summary: Controlled environment studies will establish screening protocols to identify germplasm sources for early germination, emergence under chilling conditions. A separate study will establish growth kinetic responses to intensity and duration of chilling stress for susceptible and tolerant lines. Complementary trials will be conducted under field conditions to augment controlled environment tests. A field study will evaluate transpiration efficiency (biomass and grain basis) among lines to determine role of stomatal regulation and relative growth rate on vegetative growth.

Project 2 Objective: Develop and evaluate analytic tools to scale energy and water balance components of crop systems in semi-arid regions; and quantify relationships to canopy formation, components of yield, transpiration fraction and efficiency for alternative management practices.

Summary: Evapotranspiration is a dominant component of energy and water balances in semi-arid regions; variation in time and space is closely linked to vegetative canopy formation and function. Scaling the relationships of energy and water balance components with canopy formation and components of yield can provide utility for water management in these regions. Field instrumentation will quantify fluctuation in transpiration and canopy temperature to verify rigorous simulation models. Field studies will monitor crop sequence, residue, tillage and nutrient placement effects on seasonal crop water use, canopy formation, biomass production and components of grain yield. Data will be used to evaluate and refine the predictive accuracy of crop system simulation models which are currently available for research or common use at field and landscape scales.

Project 3 Objective: Evaluate germplasm sources of adaptive traits for emerging oilseed crops including pest resistance and herbicide tolerance in sunflower.

Summary: Lack of pest resistance limits productivity of sunflower crop. Agronomic support will be continued for screening trials identifying sunflower germplasm with resistance to stem weevil and sunflower moth. Trials will be expanded to include hybrids formed with resistant lines, thereby evaluating heritability of resistance. Agronomic support for entomological studies identifying resistance traits (mechanical, biochemical, physiological) will be established. A recurrent selection program for breeding lines with triazine tolerance will be maintained.