2013 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
This research develops sustainable farming systems that will enhance (i) soil quality, (ii) soybean yield and yield stability under environmental and biotic stresses, and (iii) environmental quality and sustainability; and that will accommodate expected climate variability.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
We propose to conduct studies in several locations in the U.S. to (i) develop best management practices that include no-till, cover crops, crop rotations, gypsum, and reduced levels of mineral fertilizers; (ii) characterize their effectiveness in improving soil and crop productivity, and carbon sequestration and in reducing green house gases and pollutant load to the environment; (iii) analyze the cost and benefits of the system that includes the increased yield, reduced input, and enhanced environmental quality and sustainability; and (iv) develop education and outreach program for sharing knowledge and understanding of climate change to youth and adults that results in adaptation of management technology and practices that increase soybean productivity while maintain environmental sustainability.
Using 2012 crop year data, the economic and ecosystem services analyses were completed as planned. Facebook page established, website established, farm shows attended, farm show demonstrations coordinated, educational materials distributed, and several talks presented as planned. Demonstration plots were established at the Ag Progress Days site in Pennsylvania and the plots were staffed during the farm show to educate attendees to the project objectives regarding this innovative approach for soybean production and soil improvement. Demonstration plots were established at the Iowa Farm Progress Show site near Boone, IA. The site was staffed each day during the show to greet and inform visitors to the plots about the innovative farming system being promoted to increase soybean yield and improve soil health on marginal soils. The plots were managed during the 2013 cropping season in order to maintain the treatments for the 2014 Iowa Farm Progress Show. No suitable field site was available for establishing demonstration plots during the 2013 Illinois Farm Progress Show. Literature about the farming system and the project objectives was made available to Illinois Farm Progress Show visitors in conjunction with the Illinois Soybean Producers in their display booth. The 2012 first year soil, crop, and economic data were collected, compiled, and analyzed. Treatments were applied as specified and the 2013 crop is planted. Mercury analysis was conducted on the soybean seeds grown on the plots, and no mercury accumulation was observed even with high rates of gypsum application.
Activities conducted for this Reimbursable Agreement contribute directly to Sub-Objective 2a of the parent project: Evaluate no-till, soil amendment, and cover crop practices as compared to conventional management practices for improving crop yield and soil/water quality in intermittently wet soils.