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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Agroecosystems Management Research » Research » Research Project #432476

Research Project: Impacts of Cropping System Diversity and Input Reduction on Greenhouse Gas Mitigation, Soil and Water Quality, and Economic Performance...

Location: Agroecosystems Management Research

Project Number: 5030-12210-003-67-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Feb 1, 2017
End Date: Jan 31, 2019

Objective:
Demonstrate that diverse farming systems using extended crop rotations, cover crops, and reduced synthetic inputs to promote soil and crop health will sustain productivity, suppress pests, conserve N (nitrogen) in the plant-soil system through efficient nutrient cycling, and minimize environmental impacts from leached contaminants and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, thereby accruing long-term economic and environmental benefits.

Approach:
By evaluating across experimental sites with different cropping histories and soil types (the Long-Term Agroecological Research (LTAR) experiment, established in 1998 in Greenfield, Iowa and the USDA-ARS Organic Water Quality (OWQ) site, near Boone, Iowa)we will obtain: 1) An accurate assessment of the effect of different crop and cover crop sequences on soil health indicators, soil microbial function, and ecosystem services, including water quality and greenhouse gas emissions; 2) A more thorough understanding of the effect of weeds, insects, and diseases under different management practices on crop yields and economic performance; 3) An assessment of the amount of reduction in nitrate leaching and potential climate change mitigation from different crop rotations and cover crop integration; and 4) Recommendations for methods to enhance ecosystem services and improve soil health, which will increase economic returns and environmental sustainability for Iowa farmers by reducing costs of production and decreasing dependence on external sources of applied fertility, and, potentially, lead to the procurement of carbon/emission credits.