Blackland scientists are developing new technologies and management strategies to improve water, soil, and other natural resources on agricultural, urban, and military lands in central Texas and around the world. The EPIC (Erosion Productivity Impact Calculator, APEX (Agricultural Policy Environment Extender), SWAT (Soil and Water Assessment Tool), and PHYGROW (for a forage production-run-off) models are deployed world-wide as people seek to: increase agriculture production and water supply; improve the environment and the economic well-being of people; and increase the sustainability of land.
Dr. Manyowa Meki (Ph.D., University of Cambridge, UK) combines academic and applied knowledge, skills and experience gained in plant breeding, genetics and agronomic field research with crop modeling to design cropping systems that optimize productivity with minimum environmental trade-offs. Currently subcontracted to work on a USDA-ARS project plan to assess feedstock supply to produce advanced biofuels in Hawaii. Tasks: (1) develop key crop parameters for four candidate high biomass energy crops; sugarcane, energycane, Napier grass and energy sorghum. These parameters are required to conduct biofuel feedstock cropping systems simulations with the EPIC/ALMANAC models; (2) determine sustainable biomass harvest thresholds, and obtain realistic estimates of spatial and temporal biomass yields; (3) assess long-term biomass production impacts on water availability and quality, salinity, soil erosion, nutrient losses, SOC storage, nutrient cycling, and GHG emissions. Assists in other ongoing projects to develop decision support systems for USA cropping systems. Dr. Meki is an Associate Editor of the Agronomy Journal and is a member of the ASA-CSSA-SSSA tri-societies.