Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » Morris, Minnesota » Soil Management Research » Research » Research Project #437086

Research Project: Farm-Ready Cover Crops for Protecting Water Quality

Location: Soil Management Research

Project Number: 5060-11610-003-05-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Oct 1, 2019
End Date: Dec 31, 2022

Objective:
We will lead a farm-based effort to adopt kura clover and camelina cover crops into corn-soybean rotation to protect vulnerable wellhead areas from nitrate contamination.

Approach:
On each of four working farms we will establish field-scale research plots (each 5 acres) comparing nitrate reductions from: 1) Perennial kura clover groundcover in corn-soybean rotation, 2) fall-seeded/ spring harvested camelina oilseed in corn-soybean, and 3) Conventional corn-soybean with best nitrogen management. Agronomics (e.g. yields, nitrogen inputs) will be measured to compare economic inputs and returns from conventional practices and cover crops. Using hydrologic field data we will build crop-hydrological models illustrating tradeoffs between yield, farm economics, and nitrate contamination to inform agricultural policy on water protection.