Integrated Cropping Systems

Sustainable agricultural production is a national priority, which can be achieved by reducing environmental footprint, increasing farm profitability, and improving climate resiliency. Large-scale farming operations in the Western Colorado have relied significantly on the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, as well as use of intensive tillage and inefficient furrow irrigation system.

Although these inputs have assisted the agricultural enterprise in consistently increasing yields over many decades, they have also cut off the natural agroecological system responsible for dynamic nutrient cycling, soil water retention, and overall system resiliency.

Our work is to minimize the need for external synthetic nitrogen (N) fertilizer application through the integrated use of legume winter cover crops, enhanced efficiency N-fertilizers, and precision N management in corn and wheat systems.

Research Projects

Current research in integrated cropping systems falls into into three categories:

  1. Enhancing the climate resiliency of crop production systems through improved nutrient and water use efficiency
  2. Generating research-based information on forage crops and crop mixtures for improved forage quantity and quality with an emphasis on reduced methane emissions in livestock production systems and sustainability.
  3. Identify alternative crops with high water use efficiency that fit in to the existing crop. 
corn rows in farm field

Improving nitrogen use efficiency and cover crop decomposition synchrony for N availability in conventional till and reduced till corn agroecosystems.

farmers standing in field

Carbon sequestration potential of novel cover crop species in Western Colorado and their economic analysis.

Funded by Solutions to Colorado Commodity Challenges, a joint effort with the Colorado producers and their associations


Identifying high forage and quality lines of sorghum, corn and alfalfa.

In collaboration with AgNext, SWSeeds, Greencover, Bayer
STAR program

Installation of soil moisture sensors in Saving Tomorrow’s Agricultural Resources

Collaborating with farmers in Western Colorado and CO Dept of Agriculture.

plowed agricultural field

Alternative crops for Western Colorado

Many new crop cultivars of Proso millet in collaboration with Dry land Genetics, cowpeas, pearl millet, Japanese millet, Foxtail millet, clover, forage soybeans in collaboration with Greencover, clusterbean are being evaluated for their potential as cover/forage crop.


Integrated Cropping Systems Selected Publications

  • Anapalli, S.S., Pinnamaneni, S.R., Chastain D., Reddy, K.N. and Simmons, C.D. (2022) Eddy covariance quantification of carbon and water dynamics in twin-row vs. single-row planted corn (Submitted to Agricultural Water Management)
  • Pinnamaneni, S.R., Lima, I., Boone, A.S., Anapalli, S.S. and Reddy, K.N. (2022). Effect of sugarcane biochar on rainfed cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) growth, lint yield and quality in the Humid Mississippi Delta (Submitted to Nature Scientific Reports)
  • Anapalli, S.S., Pinnamaneni, S.R. and Reddy, K.N. (2022) Impacts of alternate wetting and drying floodwater management on rice water use and methane emissions large-scale farm in a humid climate. Heliyon
  • Pinnamaneni, S.R., Anapalli, S.S. and Reddy, K.N. (2022) Assessing water use efficiency and on-farm profitability of corn production in response to irrigations and planting patterns in humid climates (Accepted in Agronomy J)
  • Pinnamaneni, S.R., Partson M., Anapalli, S.S and Reddy, K.N. (2022) Cereal rye cover crop impacts on soybean (Glycine max L.) root growth and soil properties. Frontiers in Soil Science and Soil Management. DOI: 10.3389/fsoil.2022.970380
  • Pinnamaneni, S.R., Anapalli, S.S. Molin, W. and Reddy, K.N. (2022) Effect of rye cover crop on weed control, soybean yield and profitability. Frontiers in Agronomy
  • Pinnamaneni, S.R., Anapalli, S.S. and Reddy, K.N. (2022) Photosynthetic response of soybean and cotton to different irrigation regimes and planting geometries. Frontiers in Plant Sciences: DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2022.894706
  • Saseendran, S.S, Pinnamaneni, S.R., Reddy K.N. and Singh G. (2022) Eddy covariance quantification of corn (Zea mays L.) water use and yield responses to irrigations on farm-scale fields. Agronomy J