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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research » Research » Research Project #430063

Research Project: Sustainable Intensification of Grain and Biomass Cropping Systems using a Landscape-Based GxExM Approach

Location: Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research

Project Number: 5070-12610-004-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Nov 1, 2015
End Date: Oct 8, 2018

Objective 1: Develop decision support tools to support a GxExM approach in research and for on-farm implementation of sustainable and resilient cropping systems. 1a. Integrate improved soil-landscape information into decision support. 1b. Improve decision support for nitrogen management in corn and cotton. 1c. Develop and evaluate new soil information sources. Objective 2: Develop and evaluate sustainable cropping systems resilient to increasing climatic variability through the application of site-specific soil and crop management using a GxExM framework. 2a. Evaluate production and soil health of innovative cropping systems designed to reduce vulnerability across landscapes. 2b. Develop and implement an innovative site-specific management system and evaluate compared to conventional practice. (CMRB LTAR).

Our interdisciplinary team will employ a GxExM approach to address key knowledge and technology gaps limiting the development of landscape-based site-specific management systems. We will develop methods that use the spatial soil, crop, and yield data collected with precision farming technologies to assess production and production risk of current and alternative management systems. To better understand soil health impacts of different management systems, we will develop and evaluate laboratory methods for important indicators as well as electronic sensor technology that can be deployed for field measurements. We will evaluate management systems that increase nitrogen use efficiency and that incorporate landscape targeting of conservation measures for improved resilience to climatic variability. We will also conduct field research to evaluate the production, profitability, and environmental ramifications of bioenergy crops. We will participate in the LTAR comparison of conventional and “aspirational” production systems through measurement and analysis of production, soil health, and mass and energy fluxes. Products of this research will include soil health indicators, sensors for measurement of multiple soil properties, contributions to long-term datasets, and agricultural and conservation practices specifically designed to deal with landscape variability.