2010 Annual Report
Objective 2: Develop dynamic cropping systems to help meet bio-energy production needs and increase economic returns while enhancing natural resource quality.
Objective 3: Develop multiple enterprise systems that integrate crops and livestock to economically optimize the quality and quantity of agricultural products while maintaining or enhancing soil quality indicators.
Objective 4: Develop and identify management principles common to integrated agricultural systems across production regions that reduce risks, improve competitiveness, and promote environmental stewardship.
Objective 5: Understand the best ways new production technologies and management systems should be delivered so producers can more easily adopt them.
Under Objective 1, which focuses on the use of cover crops and cover crop mixtures, we conducted late-summer seeding of cover crop treatments into dry pea stubble, documented cover crop establishment, aboveground biomass production, water use, and nutritional quality of cover crop treatments. Soil samples were collected, processed, and analyzed for extractable N prior to seeding cover crop treatments and again the following spring. Near-surface soil samples were collected and analyzed for soil physical, chemical, and biological properties from select treatments prior to seeding response crops.
Objective 2 focuses on the development of dynamic cropping systems to meet bio-energy production needs while maintaining environmental quality and enhancing economic returns. We are continuing to work on both perennial and annual bioenergy crops with a continued focus on strategies to producing sufficient material for bioenergy needs. Also, net carbon flux measurements are collected on a perennial biofuel crop. We are initiating work with biochar and soil samples have been collected with more planned to be collected this fall. Analysis of the samples is ongoing. One scientist in the unit is working with the ARS Biochar Working Group to establish new and innovative projects which will not repeat those currently being conducted by other units. Research will focus on indentifying the fit of biochar into agroecosystems common in the northern Great Plains, such as no-till dryland production systems.
Objective 3 continues the Location’s focus on developing integrated crop and livestock systems. Although, one of the key personnel left ARS for a university position, another scientist has agreed to continue his work. Because of this the agronomic, soil, animal production and economic data collection has continued on schedule.
Objective 4 is a multiple location objective that focuses on developing principles for integrated agricultural systems. We held the 5th workshop in our series of regional workshops in Pullman, Washington. This was successful and we are currently developing several manuscripts on principles that will complement our earlier published work.
Objective 5 is a multiple location objective that focuses on effectively delivering information to customers and stakeholders. Progress on this objective has been slowed because of the retirement of the scientist responsible for meeting milestones and also, the need to get survey approval from OMB. Another scientist within the unit has agreed to continue to work on this objective and we will proceed once survey approval has been granted by OMB.
5.Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations
The location is working on developing relationships with several of the tribal colleges in the area. As part of this on-going effort, the location has participated in the ‘Cultural Awareness Workshop’ sponsored by United Tribes Technical College, has developed cooperative research grants with Sitting Bull Tribal College and North Dakota State University and has facilitated discussions between tribal, state and federal institutions evaluating the potential for livestock based development on Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Johnson, J.M., Archer, D.W., Barbour, N.W. 2010. Greenhouse Gas Emission from Contrasting Management Scenarios in the Northern Corn Belt. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 74(2):396-406.
Phillips, B.L. 2009. Denitrification at Sub-Zero Temperatures in Arable Soils: A Review. IN: Sustainable Agriculture. Eric Lichtfouse, Mireille Navarrete, Philippe Debaeke, Veronique Souchere, Caroline Alberola (Eds). Sustainable Agriculture published by Springer Netherlands. p. 51-59. DOI 10.1007/978-90-481-2666-8. ISBN 978-90-2665-1.