Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 12, 2008
Publication Date: October 6, 2008
Citation: Franzluebbers, A.J. 2008. Soil quality under mixed grassland - Cropland environments [abstract]. Farming with Grass Conference, October 20-22, 2008, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Technical Abstract: Native grassland environments (i.e. prairies) are typically characterized by soils with high quality. Historical cultivation of prairies has led to soil resources that are now in a compromised state of health. The loss of soil organic matter that led to large biopores and a favorable rooting environment is a leading cause of poor productivity and severe erosion. Conservation management practices to restore soil quality are needed to build the productive capacity of soils in grassland environments so that (1) precipitation can be effectively utilized by plants, (2) water runoff and contaminant transport can be minimized, (3) natural nutrient cycling processes can be restored to rejuvenate long-term fertility, and (4) productive capacity of soils can be fully realized to produce the food, fiber, and fuel needs of the future. Literature will be reviewed to illustrate both degradation and improvement in soils based on the choice of management in historical grassland regions (i.e., Northern Great Plains and Prairie Gateway), as well as in recently established grassland regions in previously forested regions (i.e., Southern Seaboard, Eastern Uplands, and Northern Crescent). Conservation management approaches to be analyzed will include conservation-tillage cropping, cover cropping, short-duration rotational grazing, and integrated crop-livestock production. Implications of these management systems on selection of a sustainable biofuel production system will be explored.