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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #257277

Title: Assessing Production and Ecosystem Function for Grain and Bioenergy Feedstock Crops Across Variable Soil Landscapes

item Kitchen, Newell
item Sudduth, Kenneth - Ken
item Sadler, Edward
item Kremer, Robert
item Baffaut, Claire
item MYERS, DAVID - University Of Florida
item Lerch, Robert

Submitted to: Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/12/2010
Publication Date: 9/28/2010
Citation: Kitchen, N.R., Sudduth, K.A., Sadler, E.J., Kremer, R.J., Baffaut, C., Myers, D.B., Lerch, R.N. 2010. Assessing Production and Ecosystem Function for Grain and Bioenergy Feedstock Crops Across Variable Soil Landscapes [abstract]. 2010 Soil and Water Conservation Society's Sustainable Feedstocks for Advanced Biofuels Workshop Final Program & Abstract Book. p. 28-29.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Some soils in the U.S. Midwest region have been especially negatively impacted by grain cropping. The result has been lost productivity and diminished resiliency for ecosystem function. Of note are the degraded soils of the Midwest classed as “claypan soils.” These soils are disproportionate sources of non-point pollution and soil quality degradation when grain cropped. Alternative production systems are needed for long-term productivity and environmental sustainability. The objective of this research is to simultaneously evaluate grain and feedstock bioenergy production and ecosystem services across variable soil landscapes. Three studies are being conducted to achieve this objective: 1. SPARC (Soil Productivity Assessment for Renewable Energy and Conservation). Decisions about where on claypan landscapes grain or switchgrass production systems can be placed to minimize production and economic risk are of particular importance. This study initiated in 2009 allows for contrasting renewable energy options of grain crops and switchgrass under variable topsoil depth. Research at this site also contrasts the N management issues with switchgrass under variable topsoil depth. 2. Large-Plot Cropping System Evaluation. 30 individual plots in a 30-acre research site have been managed over a 20 year period comparing conventional and innovative grain cropping systems. The site is unusual since each experimental unit traverses a landscape of soil types (summit, backslope, and footslope positions). Now, some of these plots are being converted to bioenergy cropping systems. Side-by-side grain and biofuel (switchgrass and short-rotation woody biofuel) production systems will be assessed for productivity and water quality. 3. Soil Productivity Assessment from Yield Maps. Over 100,000 acre-years of yield map data have been obtained from over 30 producers in the Missouri claypan region. This multi-temporal and spatial replication of crop yield monitor data is being used to empirically quantify production risks due to soil and landscape factors. Our approach is to collect yield data, collect soil and landscape data (continuous and full coverage), merge these two data sets, then model yield and yield variance with data mining techniques. Soils with both high yield variance and low yield mean will be evaluated further for perennial bioenergy feedstocks.