2011 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.
The location is continuing work on evaluating the use of cover crops and cover-crop mixtures in cropping systems on the Northern Great Plains (Objective 1). An outreach tool, the ‘Cover Crop Chart’ was developed and organizes information about cover crops in an easy to understand chart patterned off the periodic table.
Objective 2 focuses on developing dynamic cropping systems to meet bio-energy production needs while maintaining environmental quality and enhancing economic returns. The loss of one key personnel and the termination of earmark funding resulted in the elimination of Sub-Objective 2.1 Determine appropriate bioenergy crops for optimizing biofuel production capacity in conjunction with ecological sustainability. Work is continuing on the remaining objectives. Location scientists are involved with the ARS BioChar working group and also the Renewable Energy Assessment Project (REAP), a multi-location project looking at developing sustainable biomass harvesting rates while maintaining our critical soil resource. Objective 3 retains the locations emphasis on developing integrated crop-livestock production systems. This research requires a long-term commitment and some project aspects have been in place for over ten years. Data collection is continuing and a paper comparing water infiltration rates between integrated crop-livestock systems and grass pastures was published.
Objective 4 and 5 were eliminated because of the earmark termination.
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