Semi-Arid Dryland Cropping Systems Community

The Semi-arid Dryland Cropping Systems Community is an ASA Community within the Agronomic Production Systems Section.

The issues of greatest relevance in semi-arid rainfed (dryland) agriculture is typically rainfed areas with 10-20" (250-500 mm) annual precipitation. When precipitation is limiting, compounded in warmer climates, then cropping limitations are more pronounced. This community brings together scientists and educators, not just in the U.S. Great Plains and Inter-mountain West regions, but all of North America, Australia, Africa, and Asia who are interested in discussing the issues of relevance in dryland cropping systems for their regions.

Water is the most limiting factor for food and fiber production in dryland cropping systems. Soil erosion and degradation is a major concern in semi-arid regions. Fallow is commonly practiced in dryland cropping systems, but while it lowers production risk, it poses problems for soil quality and long-term sustainability.  Common topics of interest among Community members include capture, conservation, and utilization of limited natural rainfall; prevention of soil erosion and degradation; and the potential role of cover crops to stabilize semi-arid cropping systems.


The Community has increased its contact with international semi-arid dryland workers in Australia, Africa, and Asia, as well as the staff of ICARDA.