The term cropping system refers to the crops and crop sequences and the management techniques used on a particular field over a period of years. Long-term cropping systems research projects generally involve a team of scientists of different disciplines working together to answer questions and solve problems. Dryland cropping is practiced in many diverse agro-climates in the Inland Pacific Northwest where average precipitation ranges from 6 to 26 inches per year. Common objectives of cropping systems research projects conducted by WSU and USDA-ARS scientists are to increase crop diversity with non-cereals such as oilseed and legume crops, intensify rotations (i.e., less fallow), maintain or increase soil quality, reduce or eliminate tillage, and sustain economic profitability for farmers.
Dave Huggins is Director of the Cook Agronomy Farm Long-Term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) site and Co-Director of the Pacific Northwest Climate Hub. His research is in the area of Conservation Farming and Agroecology focusing on nitrogen use efficiency, carbon sequestration and overall agroecosystem performance.
I conduct work at the interface between crops and soils at rhizosphere and cropping systems levels the Nutrient Cycling and Rhizosphere Ecology Analytics, Technology and Education (NCREATE) team. We digitally image root rhizospheres and we track nutrient use and cycling of crops in rotations to better inform nutrient management recommendations, which we extend to student and farming communities.
My cropping systems research and extension program is mainly focused in low-precipitation (less than 12 inch annual) farming areas. Research interests include: best management practices to reduce wind erosion, increased cropping intensity, alternative crops, and water use efficiency in cropping systems.