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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Quantifying and Monitoring Nutrient Cycling, Carbon Dynamics and Soil Productivity at Field, Watershed and Regional Scales

Location: Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory

Title: Changes of crop rotation in Iowa determined from the USDA-NASS cropland data layer product

item Stern, Alan
item Hunt, Earle
item Doraiswamy, Paul

Submitted to: Journal of Applied Remote Sensing (JARS)
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 25, 2012
Publication Date: October 30, 2012
Citation: Stern, A.J., Hunt, E.R., Doraiswamy, P.C. 2012. Changes of crop rotation in Iowa determined from the USDA-NASS cropland data layer product. Journal of Applied Remote Sensing (JARS). 6:1-17.

Interpretive Summary: The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) produces the Cropland Data Layer annually from satellite imagery. From these data, we developed a method to determine changes in crop rotations at the field scale. The recent demand for corn created by new biofuel plants in Iowa increased the market price of corn, and caused an overall shift crop rotation patterns from a typical corn-soybean rotation to a continuous corn rotation. However, in Southern Iowa, grasslands and pastures were put into crop production.

Technical Abstract: Crop rotation is one of the important decisions made independently by numerous farm managers, and is a critical variable in models of crop growth and soil carbon. By combining multiple years (2001-2009) of the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) cropland data layer (CDL), it is possible to detect changes in crop rotation patterns overtime. It was found that the area planted in corn increased from 4.7 million hectares in 2001 to 5.7 million hectares in 2007, which was correlated with the market price for corn. In most counties, the increase in planted area of corn cultivation resulted from increases of a corn-corn rotation and decreases in the standard corn-soybean rotation. In the southern part of Iowa, the increase of planted area in corn was caused by an expansion into non-agricultural lands.

Last Modified: 10/31/2014
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