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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lincoln, Nebraska » Agroecosystem Management Research » Research » Research Project #429753

Research Project: Management and Soil Resource Evaluation to Enhance Agricultural System Resilience and Sustainability

Location: Agroecosystem Management Research

Project Number: 3042-11210-002-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: May 31, 2016
End Date: Oct 15, 2018

Objective 1: Characterize the effects of conservation practices and crop diversification on soil physical properties and microbial community. Objective 2: Evaluate winter oilseed yield potential in a corn-soybean rotation under various climate conditions. Objective 3: Evaluate water and nutrient management practices on crop and feedstock production, and soil properties.

An integrated approach is needed to improve farming systems toward greater sustainability to meet societal demands for food, feed, fiber, and fuel. Soil and crop management strategies can optimize the capacity of agricultural soils to store carbon while minimizing greenhouse gas emissions from nitrogen fertilizer and management practices. Past research has increased crop nutrient and water use efficiencies through best management practices coupled with the development of more heat- and drought-resistant germplasm; more improvements are required to adapt to a changing climate, increased competition for limited water resources, and increased demand by a growing population and improved standard of living. Further, a better understanding of how management affects soil organic carbon dynamics, including impacts on soil microbial structure and function, are needed to improve or maintain critical soil functions and associated ecosystem services. This project will (1) evaluate conservation tillage practices and crop diversity on the soil resource, (2) develop management guidelines for sustainable intensification of current corn-soybean rotations using winter oilseeds, and (3) improve water and nutrient practices on crop and feedstock production. Results will be shared with producers, consultants, extension educators, state and federal regulatory agency personnel, and other scientists. Products resulting from this project plan will contribute to improved soil and crop management that will improve the sustainability of agroecosystem soil functions.