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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Urbana, Illinois » Global Change and Photosynthesis Research » Research » Research Project #436336

Research Project: A Decision Support Tool for Adaptive Management of Cereal Rye in No-till Organic and Conventional Soybeans

Location: Global Change and Photosynthesis Research

Project Number: 5012-12220-010-05-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Nov 1, 2018
End Date: Oct 31, 2022

Objective:
Objective 1: Use existing on-farm data from farmer networks and the Midwest and growers to develop and improve a cereal rye phenology and biomass prediction model. Objective 2: Create beta version of web-based decision support tool allowing growers to optimize their planting and termination dates for adaptive use of cereal rye in organic and conventional no-till soybean.

Approach:
The growth and development of cereal rye has been modeled in relation to thermal time in the scientific literature, however the model was based on data from only two locations in Pennsylvania. Our team, in collaboration with the grower association, has already improved (with data from over 40 locations) the predictive value of the Mirsky model from an R2 of 0.42 to 0.70 (i.e., explaining 70% of the observed variation). We will use a large grower dataset of cereal rye planting date, location, and termination date to further improve this model, in cooperation with the grower association (>150 organic and conventional growers) and the Midwest and growers. We will also work with a core group of 30 farmers, guided by our growers, to make on-farm measurements of spring rye phenology, biomass and weed growth to further improve the model. A beta version of a decision support tool for adaptive cereal rye management will be developed. This tool will take both biophysical (location, weather norms, soil series) and management (rye cultivar, planting window, desired phenology stage in spring) inputs. We will work with growers to use the improved rye growth model to evaluate results of fall 2018 rye planting and guide cereal rye planting in Fall 2019. Feedback from growers from spring 2019 and 2020 will be used to further refine the model, supporting the release of a public version of the decision support tool. We will avoid the proliferation of related, overlapping tools and websites by sharing our results with the grower association.