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Chad Poole

Research Assoc

CALS - Vernon James Center - P 127


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Date: 02/01/21 - 1/31/22
Amount: $24,220.00
Funding Agencies: Corn Growers Association of NC, Inc.

This research and extension project will evaluate the potential yield of various corn hybrids from multiple maturity groups to various soil water conditions. Excessive soil water, deficit soil water and adequate soil water condition will be considered. In addition, the project will evaluate the nitrogen and phosphorus use of the hybrids under each soil water scenario. This information will provide valuable data for hybrid selection and nutrient needs given observed and expected soil water conditions for individual farms.

Date: 02/01/18 - 1/31/21
Amount: $86,810.00
Funding Agencies: Corn Growers Association of NC, Inc.

The primary goal of this research and education project is to evaluate and demonstrate an economical system to automatically manage agricultural drainage and subirrigation in order to maximize corn yields, conserve water, and significantly minimize direct user management. Specific objectives are: 1. Developing corn-specific management protocols for the new generation of drainage water management systems. 2. Conducting a DRAINMOD modeling analysis using historic weather data and different soil types to optimize the management protocol for different soils and weather conditions. 3. Evaluating and demonstrating the management protocol on research fields equipped with the recently developed “SMART” water control structure, which drains and subirrigates the field based on real time feedback from sensors measuring the water table level in the field. 4. Documenting the corn yield and water conservation benefits of the practice. 5. Demonstrating the use of the new generation of water control structures to growers

Date: 04/01/15 - 12/31/18
Amount: $97,470.00
Funding Agencies: NC Soybean Producers Association, Inc.

The overall goal of the project is to demonstrate and evaluate an economical system to will maximize water use efficiency and reduce energy consumption utilizing existing irrigation and drainage system. Existing or retrofitted “SMART” system capabilities allow for automated water table controls by managing drainage outlets coupled with both surface and subsurface irrigation systems. However, management protocols need to be tailored to maximize water management for all periods in the soybean growth stages (Emergence (VE) through Full Maturity (R8)). Specific objectives are: 1) Develop a comprehensive water table management protocol for soybeans to enhance soybean yield, conserve water, conserve energy and improve water quality; 2) Document soybean yields and water conservation benefits of the practice; 3) Promote plant health and increase soybean quality; 4) Reduce irrigation and management expenses by managing soil water stresses at all growth stages; 5) Demonstrate the use of the “SMART” water management system to producers on farm; 6) Conduct a cost-benefit analysis to assess the feasibility of the system

Date: 01/01/16 - 9/30/18
Amount: $149,960.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

This proposal is submitted by Chad Poole to the Food, Agricultural, Natural Resources and Human Sciences Education and Literacy Initiative (AFRI ELI) to attain a post-doctoral fellowship for two years. The fellowship will give the opportunity to the applicant to gain the experience and grow to become an independent research and extension professional ready to contribute to solving current and future challenges facing agriculture in the US. Chad Poole will conduct research and extension activities to develop and promote drainage water management systems to maximize crop production in response to climate variability. Drs. Mohamed Youssef, Michael Burchell, and George Chescheir will serve as mentors to Chad Poole during the two year fellowship.

Date: 12/15/14 - 9/30/18
Amount: $71,010.00
Funding Agencies: International Farming Corporation, LLC

This project is implemented on an agricultural field owned by the International Farming Corporation with the overall goal of designing and evaluating an efficient drainage and sub-irrigation management system to maximize crop yield and profits. Three year field experiment will be conducted to evaluate three water management regimes: 1) Conventional drainage, also referred to as free drainage, as the control treatment; drain outlets will remain open and no irrigation water will be added; 2) “Smart” water management system which drains and sub-irrigates the field site based on feedback from water table depth in the field; 3) “Traditional” irrigation using an overhead system; in this treatment an adjacent field irrigated by center-pivot irrigation system and irrigation decisions are made by the farmer. Hydrological and crop yield data will be collected and compared for the three treatments.

Date: 02/01/15 - 1/31/18
Amount: $29,159.00
Funding Agencies: Corn Growers Association of NC, Inc.

The overall objective of the project is to demonstrate and evaluate a low input economical water management system to maximize corn yield, enhance water quality, reduce operation cost, and greatly minimize production risk. Specific objectives are to: 1) Test a new drainage system design that has the potential to greatly reduce both drought stresses and excessive soil water stresses; 2) Document the yield and water conservation benefits of the practice; 3) Promote plant health and increase corn quality; 4) Reduce the cost of ditch maintenance; 5) Maximize the return on drainage system improvements 6) Conduct a cost-benefit analysis to assess the feasibility of the system

Date: 04/01/13 - 10/31/16
Amount: $108,980.00
Funding Agencies: Environmental Defense Fund

The objectives of this project include: 1. Developing a web-based advisory for drainage water management. 2. Installation of automated drainage water control structures on up to five demonstration sites. 3. Investigating the effects of drainage water management on crop yield, drainage outflow and drainage water quality. 4. Providing guidance to producers who are using the online drainage advisory and/or the automated drainage control structures.

Date: 04/01/12 - 3/31/15
Amount: $67,111.00
Funding Agencies: NC Soybean Producers Association, Inc.

The overall goal of the project is To demonstrate and evaluate an economical system to automatically control water levels with flashboard riser systems that will significantly minimize user management while maximizing soybean yields, water conservation, and water quality benefits. Specific objectives are: 1) Develop a functional cost effective automatic water control system that can be retrofitted to existing riser systems designed to enhance soybean yield and improve water quality; 2) Promote plant health and increase soybean quality; 3) Document the yield and water conservation benefits of the practice; 4) Reduce irrigation expenses by managing soil water stresses; 5) Demonstrate the use of the automated water control system to producers; 6) Develop a cost-benefit analysis on the feasibility of the system.

Date: 09/15/11 - 9/30/14
Amount: $74,974.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA)

Drained agricultural lands make up about 40% of cropland in North Carolina. Drainage is a necessity on flat poorly drained soils to facilitate seedbed preparation and planting and to minimize plant stress and subsequent yield reduction. However, the drainage intensity required for agriculture production is not the same in all years or all periods of the year. While the primary purpose of drainage system is to reduce wet stresses, the systems can increase drought stresses through over drainage during certain parts of the year. Often drainage systems remove more water than necessary during drier periods, leading to temporary over-drainage (Doty et al., 1986). Problems with drought on drained soils have resulted in a transition from conventional drainage systems to drainage water table management systems (DWM). The latter provides drainage during wet periods and conserves water during dry periods. Recently, NCSU has completed a project to develop a Drainage Water Management online-advisory system through a National CIG grant. Nineteen producers where utilized in the pilot program. The site-specific recommendations for riser management, if correctly followed, predicted an average water conservation effect of 4.75 inches/ac for the producers. This was nearly 10% of the annual rainfall amounts for the area. The water that is conserved in the system can be used by plants during periods of drought which has a direct result on crop yields and water quality. However, a recommendation for management is only useful if it is followed. This means that producers have to place and remove riser boards at the appropriate time of year. A recent survey in 2008 commissioned by the NLEW committee showed that out of 20 producers surveyed randomly in the Neuse River basin that 13 fields had no riser management and the other 7 only had partial management. This has lead to the possibility of reducing the nitrogen credit given to water management control structures for each county in the coastal plain. Since the mid-1980s, over 4000 water control structures affecting about 400,000 acres have been installed in NC (Evans and Skaggs, 2004). Conservative estimates based on results of research indicate that these systems, properly managed, reduced N losses to coastal waters by 4 million pounds annually. If the predicted water conservation from the growers in our pilot program holds across the board this would conserve 30 billion gallons of drainage water per year. Unfortunately, a large majority of CD systems in the North Carolina Coastal Plain are not being properly managed at the present time. In order to address this management issue, we are proposing the transfer and demonstration of similar technology that has been employed in the Mid-west on in-line controlled drainage structures for tile drainage systems, to flashboard risers systems that are here in NC. This project will demonstrate an effective automated method for controlling flashboard riser systems that will significantly reduce producer management. It will have significant water conservation benefits, water quality benefits and may have crop yield impacts. It will also have a significant impact on the mandated reductions for nitrogen in the river basins.

Date: 01/01/10 - 9/30/13
Amount: $179,671.00
Funding Agencies: US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Nitrogen (N) losses from subsurface drained lands receiving irrigation waste water have become a major public concern. We propose to demonstrate and evaluate the effectiveness of two management practices that can be implemented to reduce N export from subsurface drained spray fields to surface waters. The first practice is controlled drainage (CD), a best management practice (BMP) that has been proven to be effective in reducing nutrient export from drained agricultural land to surface waters. It involves the use of a water control structure to raise the water level in the drainage outlet during periods when intensive drainage is unnecessary. The second practice involves the use of bio-reactors to treat drainage water. A bio-reactor is a subsurface trench filled with a carbon source through which drainage water flows before it enters the receiving surface water body. Both practices have a reported N removal efficiency of over 40%. Unlike CD, the bio-reactors have not been used in North Carolina; but they have the potential to be widely applied to reduce N export from drained agricultural land (about 40% of cropland in North Carolina) as well as from subsurface drained spray fields. Bio-reactors will be appealing to agricultural and pasture land owners because of the high N removal efficiency, low maintenance, and low installation cost. Results of this study could lead to the adoption of CD and bio-reactors as BMP?s for subsurface drained spray fields.

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