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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Location: Soil, Water & Air Resources Research

2013 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 system’s level 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 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 conducted in 2012 in Iowa and Tennessee. The plant monitoring schedule was designed to target specific crop growth stages for each crop, spanning the entire growing season to 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) 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. Growing conditions during 2012 were subjected to water deficits because of the prolonged drought across the Midwest. This affected the grain yield of both corn and soybean and in Iowa the high input system under no-till produced the highest yield. The plant-to-plant variation in this growing season was the largest compared to previous seasons because the extreme environmental conditions affected the biological response. These experiments were continued into 2013 for the Iowa location to evaluate how these cropping systems and management regimes would recover from the 2012 drought year.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 05/22/2017
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