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Title: Adaptive cover crop implementation and evaluation in the Chesapeake Bay watersheds

item Hively, Wells - Dean
item McCarty, Gregory
item Lang, Megan

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/15/2009
Publication Date: 7/11/2009
Citation: Hively, W.D., McCarty, G.W., Lang, M.W. 2009. Adaptive cover crop implementation and evaluation in the Chesapeake Bay watersheds [abstract]. 64th Annual Soil and Water Conservation Society Conference. p. 90.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Four years of applied research, led by the USDA-ARS Choptank River Conservation Reserve Assessment Project (CEAP), have demonstrated that satellite remote sensing, used in combination with cost-share program farm implementation records, can provide a powerful tool for evaluating the nutrient conservation effectiveness of winter cover crops on a landscape scale. Evaluating cover crop performance on the population of fields enrolled in cost share programs is now possible, leading to increased understanding of agronomic and implementation factors affecting wintertime nutrient sequestration. The project is now entering a technology transfer phase, through development of a ArcMap GIS planning tool for use by county Soil Conservation District planning staff on an annual basis. This technology will allow farm planners to identify and address areas of cover crop failure, potentially reward farms with excellent cover crop performance, and provide summary statistics estimating cover crop nutrient uptake for various categories of cover crop management. These data would also allow a watershed scale calculation of water quality benefits associated with cover crops, with implications for program efficiency and nutrient trading potential. This presentation will discuss the ongoing strategy of remote sensing of cover crops, including future strategies for application throughout the Chesapeake Bay, including cover crop effects on soil erosion and sedimentation. A brief report will also be made regarding the results of a Bay State Cover Crop Enhancement Conference held in December 2008, at which various strategies (incentives, regulations, extension) for cover crop implementation were discussed.