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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Location: Soil, Water & Air Resources Research

2011 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
Quantify the potential for enhanced carbon sequestration as well as possible improvements in water and nutrient uptake efficiencies as a result of specific technologies and agronomic practices in corn-soybean cropping systems.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Experiments will be conducted in a combination of rhizotron and growth chambers in the National Soil Tilth Laboratory. These experiments will be conducted as a series of comparisons of seed treatments and genetic material on the early growth of corn and soybean using controlled conditions of soil water, soil temperature, and air temperature.

3. Progress Report
This project evaluates the system’s level approach to U.S. agricultural production of corn (Zea mays L.) and soybean (Glycine max L.) rotation through innovation and the use of new and existing technologies that maximize yield for each crop as well as optimization of land management practices. The program is designed to evaluate the potential environmental and economic benefits of conservation tillage relative to multiple Syngenta input systems across a range of soils and climates. Trials were established in key corn-soy production areas in Iowa, Illinois, and Tennessee. A rigorous site selection process was utilized to screen potential field sites. Within the targeted areas of each state, growers and universities with prospective agricultural sites that fulfilled the preliminary selection criteria were identified and their fields further characterized for suitability in this study. Weather conditions spanned from unseasonably wet early in the growing season to unseasonably dry during grain filling period for each of the locations with abnormally higher nighttime temperatures also a contributing factor to lower crop yields. The plant monitoring schedule was designed to target specific crop growth stages for each crop, spanning the entire growing season, that would capture the plant growth effect of the various Syngenta Technologies inputs. Five growth stages for each crop were targeted for monitoring. The target monitoring events (growth stages) in both corn and soybeans were: 1) early vegetative; 2) mid-vegetative; 3) late vegetative/early reproductive; 4) midreproductive; and 5) harvest. At specified monitoring intervals, plant growth parameters such as growth-stage, plant height, crop emergence (stand count), above and below ground biomass, plant senescence, and canopy reflectance were measured. Crop yield, yield components (grain weight, percent moisture, quality parameters-protein, oil, starch), lodging, root development components (root mass, root length, root diameter, root surface area), and soil/plant nutrient content were also measured. Each field site was reliant on natural pest pressures for that location. Appropriate pest pressures and uniformity across the sites are required to differentiate treatment effects. Iowa had significant weed pressure and nematode pressure (patchy).

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 06/21/2017
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