Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy Meetings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/25/2001
Publication Date: 10/25/2001
Citation: Goldstein, W., Cambardella, C.A., Wander, M., Mulcahy, J., Exner, D., Stute, J. 2001. Managing organic matter, nutrients, root health and yields on midwestern farms [abstract]. American Society of Agronomy Meetings. a08goldstein172014-0.pdf.
Technical Abstract: Farmers who practice alternative crop management strategies lack a framework for understanding and managing practical relationships between rotations, organic manure, young soil organic matter, N-flows, root health, and potential crop yields. Therefore we are developing a monitoring and budgeting system with 36 farmers in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa and the plots of the Wisconsin Integrated Cropping Systems Trials. The farms include cash grain, livestock farms, and vegetable farms and they are run conventionally and organically. We study the N-supplying capacity of their soils and utilize test plots with or without manure applications and forages to estimate their apparent N-contributions. To calculate crude N budgets we monitor N, young organic matter, and root health of corn. Then we use our spreadsheet-based budgeter to calculate multi-year budgets for C, N, P, and K. Our budgeter coefficients are based on the scientific literature, runs of the CENTURY model, and our own research. The results from root health evaluations are used to set predictions on the quantity of excess N needed to grow crops under specific conditions. In conjunction with farmers we review the fit between our results, field results, and farmer expectations and then test different management strategies with them.