Location: Agroecosystem Management Research
Project Number: 5440-11210-001-00
Start Date: May 31, 2011
End Date: May 30, 2016
Increasing concerns about rising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHG) have emphasized the critical need for soil and crop management strategies that can mitigate GHG impacts while meeting societal demands for products (i.e. food, fiber, and fuel) and societal expectations of water and air quality. Soil and crop management strategies can optimize the capacity of agricultural soils to store carbon (C) while minimizing emissions of N-based GHGs by optimizing nitrogen (N) fertilizer applications across spatially variable landscapes. This project will (1) determine how crop and residue management affects soil functions (i.e. soil fertility, C storage and soil organic matter dynamics, GHG fluxes, and role of soil microbial communities on these functions), and (2) develop approaches to delineate spatially variable fields for more efficient application of water and fertilizer inputs. Crop residues are currently being harvested to co-feed with distillers grain in livestock operations and have been identified as available sources of cellulosic biomass for biofuel production. This project plan will determine the impact that corn stover removal has on soil function and develop recommendations for determining the amount of stover that can be diverted to other uses without impairing soil function. Results will be shared with producers, consultants, extension educators, state and federal regulatory agency personnel, and other scientists. Products resulting from this project plan will contribute to improved soil and crop management that will maintain or improve the sustainability of agroecosystem soil function.