Connecting current research on soil health in the Ogallala Aquifer region’s climates, soils, and production systems to current water management practices has immense potential for long-term sustainability. In this review, we summarize current indicators of soil health, along with the impacts of field management strategies in irrigated and dryland management on soil health.
We found that increased water availability in irrigated systems may increase indicators linked to soil health in surface layers of soil in the short term. However, management strategies (reducing tillage, reducing fallow periods, increasing crop diversity) positively linked to soil health have a more meaningful impact in the long term on the function and resilience of systems.
As producers transition from irrigated to dryland acres, these management strategies will be critical in improving soil health, function, and water use efficiency.
Publication: Cano, A., A. Núñez, V. Acosta-Martinez, M. Schipanski, R. Ghimire, C. Rice, and C. West (2018). Current knowledge and future research directions to link soil health and water conservation in the Ogallala Aquifer region. Geoderma.