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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Improving Soil Quality, C Sequestration, and Mitigating Greenhouse Gas Emission in Organic Rice Production

Location: National Soil Dynamics Laboratory

Project Number: 6010-12000-010-20
Project Type: Reimbursable

Start Date: Oct 01, 2012
End Date: Jul 30, 2015

Objective:
1. Quantify the combined effects of cover crop, organic soil amendments, and variety selection on rice yield and milling quality in field trials conducted on certified organic land in conjunction with an established stakeholder research and outreach advisory board. 2. Determine ecological services (reduced soil erosion, enhanced carbon (C) sequestration, GHG abatement, increased nitrogen (N) retention and cycling, and water quality improvement provided by organic rice farming using the proposed integrated practices. 3. Conduct a life cycle assessment (LCA) to identify sustainable management practices for organic rice in terms of grain yield, net income, soil quality, C sequestration, and GHG emissions. 4. Implement field demonstrations and provide information to growers, researchers, county agents, natural resource managers, and regional public officials on the production potential, financial viability, and ecological impacts of organic rice cropping systems.

Approach:
Organic rice farming may have greater potential for soil carbon (C) sequestration, but may also result in greater greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions because of greater input of organic matter (C is a main component) compared to conventional rice production. Our project will integrate the use of cover crops, organic soil amendments, and choice of cultivar to improve soil quality, reduce losses from disease and increase yield and milling quality. This proposed research will also utilize life cycle assessment (LCA) to help optimize environmental services and the climate change mitigation ability of organic rice farming systems. Information is lacking on the integrated effects on organic rice production practices and their economic and ecological benefits. To accomplish our goals, we will quantify the effects of cover crops, organic soil amendments, and cultivar on rice yield, milling quality, soil quality, soil C sequestration, and GHG emissions in integrated studies conducted in Texas. We conducted a stakeholder survey to prioritize research goals and consulted with an established advisory committee involving growers, millers, consultants, and end-users to guide our research approach and delineate technology transfer programs needed to implement these organic rice systems.

Last Modified: 11/28/2014
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