Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 15, 2006
Publication Date: May 3, 2006
Citation: Hively, W.D., Lang, M.W., McCarty, G.W., Keppler, J., McConnell, L.L. 2006. Evaluating cover crop nutrients uptake efficiency on the landscape scale [abstract]. ARS Conservation Effects Assessment Project Annual Meeting. 2006 CD ROM.
Water quality concerns in the Chesapeake Bay have been linked to nutrient and sediment loading from the upland landscape, and government programs have been designed to improve land management to reduce non-point pollution sources. The use of cover crops on agricultural land has been identified as a desirable management practice with potential to positively impact water quality. This project uses a combination of remote sensing and field sampling to evaluate the impact of cover crops on nutrient retention within the Choptank River watershed on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, a designated CEAP Special Emphasis research location. The Maryland Department of Agriculture provides information on farmer enrollment in cover crop and commodity cover crop cost share programs including location, planting date, species, and planting method. SPOT satellite images are used to estimate aboveground biomass on participating fields in winter and spring, with field sampling and hyperspectral sensing providing image calibration and nutrient concentration estimates. Winter 2006 results showed excellent correlation (r2=0.98) between SPOT-derived vegetation index and observed biomass. Planting date, planting method (aerial, drilled, broadcast), cover crop species (wheat, rye, barley), and previous crop (maize, soy) were all significantly correlated with biomass and nutrient accumulation, which ranged from 0 to 60 lb/acre.