Feral Hogs, the Rainfall Index Annual Forage Program, and Pecan Irrigation
Biedenbach, Abby Mykaila
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The first essay examines feral hog control as an economic issue. Feral hogs are an invasive species and their presence can lead to spread of disease to livestock, crop damage, loss of wildlife, intrusion in green spaces, and many other detrimental consequences. The key to widespread control and eradication of feral hogs lies not only with innovative technology but with institutions and incentives. A change in laws that prevents incentives for individuals to continue to transport and release wild hogs as well as help reallocating abatement resources to work towards a socially optimal level of feral hog control. The second essay assesses the relationship of the RMA index and forage yields for the Rainfall Index Annual Forage Program and proposes additional indices composed of precipitation frequency events and minimum temperature events. The precipitation frequency index sums the number of days precipitation events occurred over a two month time period while the minimum temperature index sums the number of days where the minimum temperature was below 32 degrees Fahrenheit over a two month time period. The RMA index intervals were positively related to yields and significant for wheat. For triticale, oats, rye, and ryegrass, none of the indices were consistently significant indicating that a variable that better explains forage yields is necessary to assist producers in protecting against forage yield loss. The third essay determines the effects of irrigation system upon young pecan growth, nut quality, and nutrient uptake. The five irrigation systems were Nelson R-5 rotator (35 ft diameter) sprinkler, Nelson R-10 rotator (70 ft diameter) sprinkler, two subsurface driplines irrigating for two days a week alternating between water for two hours and no water for two hours, two subsurface driplines irrigating one day a week for twenty hours continuously, four subsurface driplines irrigating for ten hours continuously for one day a week, and a control with no irrigation. Irrigation systems affected foliar levels of potassium, boron, and manganese levels. No significant difference was found in expected change in trunk diameter or kernel percentage by irrigation system. Using a spatial Durbin error model, trunk diameters of non-irrigated and the four subsurface dripline irrigation system trees were significantly less than those trees that were irrigated by the two subsurface irrigation driplines for twenty hours continuously system.
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