Title: Grassland research at the Eastern South Dakota Soil and Water Research Farm Author
Submitted to: Extension Publications
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: September 26, 2013
Publication Date: October 3, 2013
Citation: Riedell, W.E. 2013. Grassland research at the Eastern South Dakota Soil and Water Research Farm. South Dakota State University Extension iGrow Publications. Available: http://igrow.org/up/articles/8610.pdf. Interpretive Summary: Reasearch experiments on grasslands have been conducted at the Eastern South Dakota Soil and Water Research Farm since 2000. Research has concentrated on 2 main areas: the first being replicated field trials whereby farmers and other interested people can view living examples of the types of grasses and forbs available for haying, pasture, or prairie restoration. The second is replicated field plots where the agroecology of grass mixtures is studied in areas where grass canapies are managed by haying, burning, or left alone. All together, this research is conducted on about 14 acres on soils that range from those characteristic to upland landscape positions to soils characteristic of riparian areas along an ephemeral creek. The public is invited to tour these research and demonstration plots.
Technical Abstract: The grass research and demonstration plots, which were initially established in the year 2000, consist of 2 large areas. The first, called the native prairie natural area, is a 4 acre site located on the northeast corner of the farm. This area has a Lamoure-Rauville silty clay loam soil that supports cool season grasses and trees that run along the bank of an ephemeral creek. The upland portion of this area, which contains a McIntosh-Lamoure silty clay loam, has been restored to a native prairie habitat containing mixtures of native warm season grasses and forbs. In addition to providing a riparian area which shields the creek from runoff, the native prairie natural area provides food and shelter for wildlife as well as an ascetically pleasing view. The second, called grass demonstration plot, is a 10 acre site the runs along the north boundary of the research farm. Soils in this area are a mixture of McIntosh-Lamoure silty clay loam and a Strayhoss-Maddock complex along the northern portion of the plot and a Barnes clay loam along the southern portion. There are several separate demonstrations and research studies conducted on this site: demonstration of different species and cultivars of cool season grasses, warm season grasses, and forbs; demonstration of how mixtures of cool season grasses, warm season grasses, and wild flowers interact over time to decrease certain species and increase others; and replicated field plot experiment on how canopy management (annual spring burning, fall mowing, or no canopy management) effects grass species composition and soil health. Grass species studied included cool season grasses, warm season grasses and a mixture of cool and warm season grasses.