INTEGRATED AGRICULTURAL SYSTEMS FOR THE NORTHERN GREAT PLAINS
Location: Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory
Project Number: 5445-21660-002-00
Start Date: Oct 01, 2008
End Date: Sep 30, 2013
Objective 1: Determine the environmental and economic impacts of cover crop and cover crop mixtures in semiarid cropping systems.
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.
Multiple methodologies will be used depending on the specific objectives because of the complexity of this integrated agricultural systems research project. Objective 1 will use a modified crop matrix where different cover crops are seeded into a common residue to evaluate the above- and below-ground impact of cover crops on subsequent crops. Objective 2 will use economic analysis, and modeling techniques to develop economically feasible management strategies for biofuels and an Eddy Covariance System to measure CO2 flux as a surrogate for environmental impact of biomass crops. Integration of crops and livestock, Objective 3, will compare the performance of livestock when grazing annual crops in the fall to livestock performance when grazing perennial grasses in the fall. In the first 3 objectives, common data collected will include soil properties, biomass accumulation and soil water use. In addition, data on the impact of bio-char will be collected in Objective 2 and livestock production data will be collected in Objective 3. Economic analysis will be conducted as appropriate.