2012 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.
A soil scientist and two technicians attached to this project retired this year. A soil scientist from the closed Beaver, WV location was transferred to the location to fill the vacant soil scientist position. The location hired a Headquarters funded post-doc to work on biofuel related issues.
The location finished the field portion of research focused on determining the environmental and economic impacts of cover crop and cover crop mixtures on precipitation-use efficiency, soil attributes, and nutritional quality (Objective 1). A producer focused product from this research is the ‘the Cover Crop Chart’ which is available for download on the location website. This unique outreach tool is patterned after the periodic chart and is designed to be an easy to understand method for producers to get information about potential cover crops. It has been downloaded over 1300 times by producers and educators in 20 countries.
Work is continuing on developing dynamic cropping systems to meet bio-energy production needs while maintaining environmental quality and enhancing economic returns (Objective 2). Location scientists are involved with the ARS BioChar working group and the Renewable Energy Assessment Project (REAP). As part of these partnerships, scientists at the location contributed to a synthesis paper evaluating the agronomic impact of biochar. In conjunction with ARS researchers in Morris, MN, location scientists developed a method to determine prices and quantity of crop residue biomass that could be supplied to a biorefinery. The location has continued its emphasis on developing multiple enterprise systems that integrate crops and livestock to economically optimize quality and quantity of agricultural products while maintaining or enhancing soil quality indicators (Objective 3). One of the primary concerns with using livestock to graze crops and/or crop residue has been the impact of livestock on soil quality. Research conducted by location scientists indicated livestock did not have a large negative impact on soil quality parameters in the northern Great Plains.
Liebig, M.A., Tanaka, D.L., Kronberg, S.L., Scholljegerdes, E.J., Karn, J.F. 2012. Integrated crops and livestock in central North Dakota, USA: Agroecosystem management to buffer soil change. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems. 27(2):115-124.
Xue, Q., Nyren, P.E., Wang, G., Eriksmoen, E., Bradbury, G., Halvorson, M., Aberle, E., Nichols, K.A., Liebig, M.A. 2011. Biomass composition of perennial grasses for biofuel production in North Dakota, USA. Biofuels. 2(5):515-528. doi: 10.4155/bfs.11.123
Schmer, M.R., Liebig, M.A., Vogel, K.P., Mitchell, R. 2011. Field-scale soil property changes under switchgrass managed for bioenergy. Global Change Biology Bioenergy. 3: 439-448.
Johnson, J.M., Archer, D.W., Weyers, S.L., Barbour, N.W. 2011. Do mitigation strategies reduce global warming potential in the northern U.S. Corn Belt? Journal of Environmental Quality. 40:1551-1559.
Gesch, R.W., Archer, D.W., Spokas, K.A. 2012. Can using polymer-coated seed reduce the risk of poor soybean emergence in no-tillage soil? Field Crops Research. 125:109-116.
Stetson, S.J., Osborne, S.L., Schumacher, T., Eynard, A., Chilom, G., Rice, J., Nichols, K.A., Pikul, J.L. 2012. Corn residue removal impact on topsoil organic carbon in a corn-soybean rotation. Soil Science Society of America Journal. DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2011.0420.
Archer, D.W., Johnson, J.M. 2012. Evaluating local crop residue biomass supply: Economic and environmental impacts. BioEnergy Research. 5:699-712. DOI:10.1007/s12155-012-9178-2.
Johnson, J.M., Weyers, S.L., Archer, D.W., Barbour, N.W. 2012. Nitrous oxide, methane emission, and yield-scaled emission from organically and conventionally managed systems. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 76:1347-1357.
Sanderson, M.A., Schmer, M.R., Owens, V., Keyser, P., Elbersen, W. 2012. Crop management for switchgrass. Book Chapter. p. 87-112. IN: A. Monti. Switchgrass, a valuable biomass crop for energy. Springer-Verlag, NY.
Schmer, M.R., Hanson, J.D., Johnson, H.A. 2012. Switchgrass and intermediate wheatgrass aboveground and belowground response to nitrogen and calcium. Journal of Plant Nutrition. 35:1065-1079.
Halloran, J.M., Sassenrath, G.F., Hendrickson, J.R., Hanson, J.D., Archer, D.W., Vadas, P.A. 2011. Application of principles of integrated agricultural systems: results from farmer panels. Journal of Agricultural Science. B1:638-644.