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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Developing Farming Systems for Sustainable Agricultural Management

Authors
item Anderson, James - UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA
item Dowdy, Robert
item Lamb, John - UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA

Submitted to: Proceedings of the National Agricultural Ecosystem Management Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: August 13, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Producing profitable, high quality crops while preventing movement of agrichemicals into surface and ground water is a major problem of current American agriculture. The Management Systems Evaluation (MSEA) program was established in 1990 as part of a national water quality research program. One such project was the Northern Cornbelt Sand Plains MSEA project with field sites in MN, ND, SD and WI. The objective was to develop and field- test farming systems for reduced, safe, and effective use of agrichemicals on the sandy soils. A common management system of a ridge-tilled corn- soybean rotation with recommended rates of nitrogen fertilizer, atrazine, alachlor, and metribuzin applied in bands over the row, was studied at all locations. The research has shown that, with careful management, soils can be cropped intensively without undue damage to water resources. The ridge-tillage farming system for corn and soybeans in an excellent example. .The best management practices developed in the Northern Cornbelt Sand Plains MSEA project are suited for all farmers and producers the approximately 7 million ha of sandy soils where corn and soybeans are grown. The outcome of this research will benefit the entire U.S. population with a secure, sustainable food supply and water resource.

Technical Abstract: The Management Systems Evaluation Area (MSEA) program was established in 1990 with five major projects headquartered in Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, and Ohio. The Northern Cornbelt Sand Plains MSEA had sites in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin to develop management systems for the Northern Cornbelt. The objectives were: 1) investigate the impacts of ridge-tillage practices in a corn and soybean cropping system on the transport of atrazine, alachlor, and metribuzin in unsaturated and saturated zones; 2) determine the effects of nitrogen fertilizer management on movement of nitrate-N below the root zone; 3) characterize water flow and relate these characteristics to the transport and storage of agrichemicals; and 4) determine the relationship between ground-water recharge and agrichemical loading of ground water. A common management system of a ridge-tilled corn-soybean rotation with recommended rates of nitrogen fertilizer, atrazine, alachlor, and metribuzin applied in bands over the row, was studied at all locations. The research has shown that, with careful management, soils can be cropped intensively without undue damage to water resources. The ridge-tillage farming system for corn and soybeans is an excellent example.

Last Modified: 11/23/2014
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