Source: TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY submitted to
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Accession No.
Grant No.
Project No.
Proposal No.
Multistate No.
Program Code
Project Start Date
Sep 1, 2021
Project End Date
Aug 31, 2023
Grant Year
Project Director
Ganjegunte Keshava, M.
Recipient Organization
Performing Department
El Paso
Non Technical Summary
The proposed integrated research and extension project is a multi-disciplinary (agronomy, soil science, plant physiology, engineering, and economics), multi-institutional (TAMU and NMSU) and multi-location (TX and NM) study to evaluate potential for increasing canola acreage using marginal waters in the Southern Great Plains. Objectives of the study are to evaluate (i) canola performance under marginal water irrigation, (ii) changes to root zone soil properties including salinity, (iii) irrigation use efficiency and (iv) canola crop economic feasibility. Several cultivars of canola will be evaluated for salinity tolerance by measuring germination, seedling mortality, emergence percentage (EP) and emergence index, biomass, and salt accumulation. Select salt tolerant cultivars performance will be evaluated in the field plots at two locations, El Paso, TX and Artesia, NM. Plant performance parameters such as number of branches, shoot height, pods per plant and number of seeds per pod will be monitored. Physiological parameters such as gas exchange and chlorophyll fluorescence, relative chlorophyll content will be measured. At maturity plants will be harvested and biomass, oil seed yield, oil and ash content will be determined. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) equipped with hyperspectral, multispectral bands, and thermal sensors will be used to develop early detection of plant stresses to take corrective actions to reduce yield losses. Changes to root zone soil properties including salinity will be used develop appropriate water and soil salinity management practices. Economic feasibility of canola production will be evaluated by carefully assessing the establishment and operating costs, as well as potential revenues.
Animal Health Component
Research Effort Categories

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
Knowledge Area
103 - Management of Saline and Sodic Soils and Salinity;

Subject Of Investigation
1848 - Canola;

Field Of Science
1020 - Physiology;
Goals / Objectives
The main goal of the project is to evaluate the potential to adapt and increase acreage of winter canola in the southern NM and far west Texas regions of the Southern Great Plains using alternative irrigation water sources. The goal of the proposed project directly aligns with that of the Supplemental and Alternative Crops competitive (SAC) grants program, namely expanded adaptation and increased acreage in the U.S. of canola.The specific objectives of this proposed project are to:Identify salt tolerant cultivars of canola using growth chamber/greenhouse approachEvaluate performance (physiological response and yield) of select salt tolerant canola cultivar(s) irrigated with marginal quality water irrigation under field conditions using conventional physiology methods as well as UAV imaging.Determine changes to soil properties, including salinity, to develop appropriate and best management practices.Evaluate economic feasibility of producing winter canola with marginal water.
Project Methods
Objective 1: Canola Salinity ToleranceSeveral canola Accessions will be obtained from USDA-ARS Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) for salinity tolerance evaluation. Seedling emergence tests will be conducted in a growth chamber (CMP6050, Conviron) for two-weeks. Genotypes will be evaluated under six salinity levels (control - deionized water), 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 dS/m) with four replications randomized in a two-way factorial design. Seedling emergence will be monitored for 2-weeks and the data will be used to compute emergence percentage (EP) and emergence index (EI) (Schmer et al., 2012). Two weeks seedlings will then be transplanted to 1.9-L pots filled with potting mix and will be irrigated with treatment waters as needed. Plants will be harvested after 4 weeks. Throughout the experiment, the average greenhouse air temperature will be maintained at 28/19°C during the day/night, respectively, the average RH at 29%, and the average PPFD at 555 µmol m-2 s-1, with a maximum of 1021 µmol m-2 s-1. At the end of the study, the relative chlorophyll content (soil-plant analysis development [SPAD]), leaf area, and shoot fresh weights will be recorded. Dried leaf samples will be analyzed for major nutrients, cations and anions using appropriate methods (Gavlak et al., 1994).Objectives 2 & 3: Field Experiment The top three salt-tolerant cultivars identified from objective 1 will be tested under field conditions. A split-plot experimental design with water quality as main factor and soil amendment as sub-plot factor will be employed to evaluate the canola cultivar performance at two sites located in El Paso, TX and Artesia, NM. The type of marginal water used for irrigation will be based on its local availability and sufficiency. For example, in El Paso, both treated urban wastewater and saline groundwater are potential sources, while in Artesia, saline groundwater is the most viable source. Amendment treatments include an un-amended control and gypsum and/or sulfur application. Quality of irrigation waters will be regularly monitored during the course of the study by chemical analyses of grab samples using standard methods (Eaton et al., 1995). Baseline soil and water chemistry will be used to understand soil and/or water constraints, establish soil leaching requirement, assess sodicity hazard and develop management plans (Sparks et al., 1996).A water balance approach will be used to schedule irrigation and estimate water use efficiency (WUE) and irrigation use efficiencies (IUE) of canola (Allen et al., 1998). Irrigation will be scheduled in all plots based on soil moisture data (up to 60% depletion of available water) obtained from moisture sensors installed at 15, 30, 60 and 90 cm soil depths. An automatic weather station (e.g., model ET106, Campbell Scientific, Logan, UT) connected to a CR10X data logger at each site will record rainfall (TE525 tipping bucket rain gauge), maximum and minimum daily temperature, relative humidity (CS500 temperature and relative humidity sensor), evapotranspiration, total solar radiation (LI200X pyranometer), and average wind speed (034A wind set) every hour. Crop evapotranspiration (ETc) is calculated by using Penman-Monteith reference evapotranspiration and crop co-efficient curves. The water balance will determine crop water uptake and water loss through runoff and deep percolation. At the end of each season, total irrigation water applied, and total canola seed yields will be recorded. The IUE and WUE will be calculated as seed yield per irrigation water and seed yield per total water applied, respectively. Total water applied includes rainfall and irrigation.Soil samples from 0-15, 15-30, 30-45, 45-60, and 60-100 cm depths will be collected at the beginning of the study and at the end of each growing year, and analyzed for pH, electrical conductivity (EC), sodium adsorption ratio (SAR), Na, Ca, Mg, Cl-, NO3-, and SO42- using standard protocols (Sparks et al., 1996). Soil analyses data will be used to evaluate the effects of marginal quality water on soil quality and develop appropriate salinity management practices.Evaluating Plant Physiological ResponsesDuring the study period, plant phenotypic parameters including height, number of branches, number of pods per plant and number of seeds per pod will be recorded. Additionally, physiological parameters such as gas exchange, chlorophyll fluorescence and relative chlorophyll content will be measured. At maturity, plants will be harvested, and biomass/seed yield will be determined. Seed samples will be sent to an external lab (e.g. Dairy One) for seed quality analyses. Plant tissues will be evaluated for salt and metal (Ca, Mg, Na, Cl-, and SO42-) accumulation using standard methods (Gavlak et al., 1994).Scouting of Abiotic Stresses using UAV ImagingUnmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) equipped with hyperspectral (400-1700 nm), multispectral (red, blue, green (RGB), near-IR, and red-edge), and thermal sensors will be used. The multispectral or hyperspectral images can yield a RGB picture for visual identification and validation. In addition, we will measure reference canopy temperatures using stationary infrared thermocouples (IRTC's), leaf temperature sensors (e.g., Apogee SF-110-SS) and temperature control point (TCP) to monitor diurnal temperature variations and calibrate temperature data from UAV. Other studies have used similar thermal analysis to understand crop stress (Chang et al., 2020; Jones et al., 2009; Hoffmann et al., 2016). Plant canopy reflectance data (hyperspectral) and thermal maps will also be used to derive a suite of vegetation indices (VI) relevant to water and nutrient status (Zhao et al., 2020; Yang and Everitt, 2012; Gao et al., 2018). We will estimate spectral indices and compare them against field-measured parameters including leaf water potential (LWP), soil moisture, chlorophyll content, canopy temperature, and stomatal conductance. The LWP will be measured using VIs such as normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), Normalized Difference Moisture Index (NDMI), Crop Water Stress Index (CWSI), and Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index (SAVI). Hyperspectral imaging over time along with ground truthing will be used to study early onset of stress and identify new VIs that are relevant to abiotic stresses.Objective 4: Economic feasibility analysis The economic feasibility of canola production will be evaluated by carefully assessing the establishment and operating costs and potential revenues. Specifically, tailored enterprise budgets will be prepared for each possible crop, irrigation and location combination to determine production cost and profitability. The establishment costs, which include planting and maintenance, will be amortized over the lifecycle of the crop. The operation costs will be calculated based on the input requirements estimated from this study. Production revenue will be estimated based on the crop yields along with current market prices. It is imperative to evaluate the economic feasibility of the proposed irrigation systems and optimal management practices under different production conditions to guarantee their acceptance by farmers. The enterprise budget results will be used to evaluate and rank the probability and success of canola crop under different production regimes and locations (Richardson et al., 2000; Zapata et al., 2017). Additionally, economic feasibility reports will also enable us to assess the profitability of the canola crop relative to traditional crops.

Progress 09/01/21 to 08/31/22

Target Audience:Growers Extension professionals Fellow scientists, academic professionals and researchers Students Water managers Policy makers General public Changes/Problems:Canola crop at Artesia was lost due to an extreme frost event. We plan to repeat the field study at Artesia in the coming years to obtain consistent reliable data. What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?Three undergraduate students were trained on various laboratory, greenhouse and field protocols to implement the experimental design. Students were trained on collection, processing, and analyses ofsoil, irrigation water and plant samples using standard procedures. Students also received training on recording observations in greenhouse, and laboratory. Dr. Kumar involved undergraduate students in UAV campaigns at field and bench scale imaging at laboratory to provide them hands-on learning opportunity in this emerging science. Of three postdoctoral scientists supported by this project one is located at Amarillo TX and two are at El Paso, TX. The postdoc at Amarillo was provided training by Dr. Xue on designing and implementing salinity screening experiments. Two postdoc scientists at El Paso were provided opportunity to participate in a workshop that trained them on use of Hydrus model to evaluate movement of water and salts in the root zone. One of the post-doctoral scientists at El Paso working with Dr. Kumar was trained on running the UAV campaign and analysis of data collected from hyperspectral and bench scale imaging. Secondpost-doctoral scientist at El Paso is working with Dr. Ganjegunte. He received training on designing field experiments to evaluate canola varieties under irrigation with marginal quality waters. He was responsible for overseeing various tasks of field study, training undergraduate students, collecting data and statistical analyses. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?Nobecause the field study results are not available yet. Once the field studies are completed the data from salinity screeing, field studies and UAV campaigns will be shared among stakeholders. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals?Results from salt screening and physiological response studies will be presented in the 2022 ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meeting atBaltimore, MD. Soil and plant samples collected from salinity screening experiments will beanalyzed for select parameters. The study will be repeated in the fall-winter of 2022 and more physiological measurement will be taken to better understand physiological mechanisms for salt tolerance. At the field study sites, canola pods from each plant will be harvested and the seeds will be separated. After recording the yield, asubsample (~20 g) of canola seeds will be dried and ground to < 1 mm and will be sent to external laboratory for determining select seed quality parameters by near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy and wet digestion methods. These includeseed oil content, ash content, and mineral constituents (Na, Ca, Mg, K, and S). Seed oil yield will be calculated by multiplying the seed yields with their respective final oil contents. After the harvest ,end of the yearsoil samples will be collected from root-zone depths (0-15 cm, 15-30 cm, 30-45 cm, 45-60 cm and 60-100 cm), processed and analyzed for select properties such pH, electrical conductivity (EC), sodium adsorption ratio (SAR), major cations (sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium), major anions (chlorides, sulfates, phosphates and nitrates), total nitrogen and organic carbon using standard procedures. Exchangeable sodium percentage in soil and sodium concentration in wastewater/groundwater will be used to determine if gypsum application is warranted. Field evaluation of canola performance and soil chemistry changes will continue for next two years to obtain consistent and reliable data to develop practices and strategies to promote greater use of marginal quality waters to produce canola in the region. We will hold field days/demonstrations during the coming growing seasons to create greater awareness about the project, share study results to promote increased adoption of canola by the growers in the region. We will continue to develop data on cost of various inputs, tillage and labor used in production to obtain accurate enterprise budget for cost-benefit analysis of using marginal quality waters for canola production.

What was accomplished under these goals? 1. Identify salt tolerant cultivars of canola using growth chamber/greenhouse approach Twenty - three (23) canola genotypes (Table 1) were evaluated for salinity tolerance during emergence and at seedling stage in growth chamber and greenhouse at Bushland, TX in March and April 2022. Seedling emergence experiments were conducted in a growth chamber over a 10 d period. Genotypes were evaluated under six levels of salinity (deionized water (control), 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 dS/m) with three replications randomized in a two-way factorial design. Different salinity solutions were prepared by adding sodium chloride to the distilled water. Seeds will be sown in 3.8 × 3.8 cm plug cells filled with potting mix premoistened with control or saline solution. Ten seeds were sown per cell at a depth of 1 cm. During seedling emergence, treatment solutions will be applied as needed by subirrigation. Throughout the experiment, day/night conditions of 12/12 h photoperiod, 25/20°C temperature under fluorescent lights. Emergence was counted daily at noon when the cotyledons and hypocotyl are above the potting mix surface. Two weeks later, seedlings from 20 genotypes were transplanted to plastic pots filled with potting mix and irrigated with control or saline waters in greenhouse. Plants were irrigated with treatment solution by surface flooding whenever the surface becomes dry and were harvested after 4 weeks. Throughout the experiment, the average greenhouse air temperature was 25°C during the day. After 4 weeks of transplanting, the relative chlorophyll content (i.e., soil-plant analysis development [SPAD]), leaf area, and aboveground dry weight were measured. The collected data (Table 2) are being analyzed 2. Evaluate performance (physiological response and yield) of select salt tolerant canola cultivar(s) irrigated with marginal quality water irrigation under field conditions using conventional physiology methods as well as UAV imaging. Three salt-tolerant cultivars-CP322WRR, CP220WR, CP115W provided by Mr. Michael J. Stamm, Canola Breeder at Kansas State University are being evaluated under field conditions. These three varieties were selected because they are roundup ready and salinity screening tests showed that these are salt tolerant. Roundup ready canola can be advantageous as it reduces the need for tillage, which improves overall soil conditions. Reduced tillage can also reduce cost of cultivation, which can benefit growers. Field studies to evaluate above three canola cultivars were initiated in early November of 2021 simultaneously at both the study locations - El Paso, TX and Artesia, NM. Both the sites are characterized by arid climate with an annual average precipitation of 6 inches and a potential evapotranspiration rate of 80 inches. Annual temperature ranges from about 25°F in winter to 97°F during summer. The dominant soil typeat both study sites wasCalcareous silty loam. A split-plot randomized complete block design with water types as main effect and varieties as sub-effect was implemented to evaluate canola performance. Source of saline water at El Paso, TX was treated urban wastewater whereas brackish groundwater was the source at Artesia, NM. Seeds were sown in early November 2021 and all plots received a basal application of NPK fertilizer at the recommended rate. Inter-row spacing of 6 inches and intra-row spacing of 4 inches were maintained. The final plant density stood at 220,000 per acre, which is close to the recommended planting density. Unfortunately, due to an extreme frost event we lost canola plants at Artesia study site. We plan to repeat field study during the fall of 2022. At El Paso study site field preparation in each of the 36 plots included initial disking, manually breaking of large clods, furrow and ridge formation, and demarcation of plots by raised earthen berms (approximately 20 cm in height). A total of 20 inches of irrigation water was applied in 8 irrigations. When the plants reached flowering stage, leaves closer to the flowering branch were collected for nutrient analysis. Six random leaf samples were collected from each plot and were analyzed for total nutrients. Also, plant height measurements were made at the flowering stage. When aphid/white infestation was seen, chloropyrifos was sprayed at the rate 2 oz/gallon. At present, canola is approaching maturity and we plan to harvest seeds in next two weeks. We conducted aerial hyperspectral imaging using UAV and bench scale plant imaging to understand and discriminate between stress response of three varieties to marginal quality water irrigation. Two campaigns were conducted, one at early flowing stage and other at the late flowering stage. The data is still being analyzed and is expected to allow us to: a) understand the power of aerial and bench hyperspectral analysis in identifying stress on canola, b) develop data analysis and processing methods for hyperspectral imaging specific to canola, and c) develop early indications of which variety performs better in the arid southwest conditions that may be communicated to the regional stakeholders. 3. Determine changes to soil properties, including salinity, to develop appropriate and best management practices. At both El Paso, TX and Artesia study sites baseline soil samples from root-zone depths (0-15 cm, 15-30 cm, 30-45 cm, 45-60 cm and 60-100 cm) have been collected, processed and analyzed for select properties such as pH, electrical conductivity (EC), sodium adsorption ratio (SAR), major cations (sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium), major anions (chlorides, sulfates, phosphates and nitrates), total nitrogen and organic carbon using standard procedures. Information from the soil test results on exchangeable sodium/SAR and nativegypsum content from web soil surveywill be utilized todevelop appropriate amendment practices. Soil chemical data will be used to evaluate the effects of marginal quality water irrigation on soil properties (salinity, sodicity, hydraulic conductivity) and develop appropriate salinity management practices. Grab samples of irrigation water have been collected at monthly intervals and were analyzed for pH, EC, SAR, major cations and anions as per standard procedures. 4. Evaluate economic feasibility of producing winter canola with marginal water. Dr. Zapata has shared data sheets among study task leaders to keep track of quantities and costs of various inputs used in the field study. This data will be used to develop enterprise budget and to conduct benefit cost analysis. He is also keeping track of Canola market outlook and circulates among project PIs.