U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service



Rodent Hunt

Date of this Version

May 2003


Published in Colorado Outdoors 52:3 (May/June 2003), pp. 2–5.


The Dryland Project is a multi-year research effort to identify no-tillage or reduced tillage, non-irrigated crop types and practices that will improve yields and soil characteristics in eastern Colorado. Left uncultivated, this is shortgrass prairie made up of blue grama, western wheatgrass, buffalo grass, prickly pear cactus, yucca shrub, plus other plant varieties, and laced with riparian stream flows. When cultivated, winter wheat has worked well here, as long as it is left idle biannually (alternated as fallow) to restore sufficient moisture for the next cycle. Alternative dryland crops and rotation schemes are being studied as a way to reduce soil erosion and soil-moisture loss, but to increase soil moisture storage via increased soil carbon and nitrogen retention. The Project began in 1986 (1999 at Briggsdale) and has involved annual experimentation since then. Currently, research is conducted at each of six sites near Briggsdale, Sterling, Akron, Stratton, Lamar and Walsh. Briggsdale represents perhaps the biggest challenge, receiving only 13.7 inches of precipitation annually and virtually 50 percent of the amount during the past several drought years.