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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Location: Soil, Water & Air Resources Research

2012 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 a system’s approach to U.S. agricultural production of corn (Zea mays L.) and soybean (Glycine max L.) rotation through innovation and use of new and existing technologies designed to maximize yield for each crop as well as optimizing utilization of land management practices. The program is designed to evaluate the potential environmental and economic benefits of conservation tillage relative to multiple collaborator input systems across a range of soils and climates. Trials were established in key corn-soybean production areas in Iowa, Illinois, and Tennessee. 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 from various input levels. Five growth stages for each crop were targeted for monitoring in both corn and soybeans: 1) early vegetative; 2) mid-vegetative; 3) late vegetative/early reproductive; 4) midreproductive; and 5) and harvest. Plant growth parameters such as phenological stage, plant height, crop emergence (stand count), above and below ground biomass, plant senescence, and canopy reflectance were measured for the monitoring events. 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. Observations from the first two years of the experiment showed that early season root:shoot ratio and growth was not dependent upon the input level. Positive effects of input systems on crop yield in both corn and soybean were related to the maintenance of green leaf area on the plant during the reproductive growth period.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 06/24/2017
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