Improving Water Use and Stress Tolerance in Major Crops in the Texas High Plains
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The Texas High Plains is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the U.S. The economic value of annual total crop production in the area is over $1.3 billion. The area has a semi-arid climate with annual precipitation ranging from 380 to 580 mm, averaging about 480 mm. For field crop production, drought is the most common factor limiting yield and water use efficiency (WUE). In addition, other biotic (e.g., diseases, insects and weeds) and abiotic (e.g., cold, heat, nutrient deficiency, etc.) stresses also affect crop production and WUE. The overall goal of this project is to increase crop yield and maximize water use efficiency (WUE) under water-limited conditions in the Texas High Plains. The objective is to enhance the understanding of crop-climate-soil interaction and optimize crop water use and WUE through the identification of new and improved cultivars/species, and best management practices. Field, greenhouse and laboratory experiments will be planned to achieve the objectuive and address major issues related to improvement of crop water use, WUE and stress tolerance.