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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #323070

Title: A novel integrated cropping system for efficient grain production, improved soil quality, and enhanced beneficial arthropod communities

item KERMER, ROBERT - Retired ARS Employee
item REINBOTT, TIMOTHY - University Of Missouri
item Veum, Kristen
item DEICHMAN, CHARLES - Consultant
item WOODS, TERRY - University Of Missouri

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/28/2015
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The solar corridor crop system (SCCS) is designed for improved crop productivity by using broad strips (corridors or skip rows) that promote highly efficient use of solar radiation and ambient carbon dioxide by C-4 plants including corn. Field trials in 2013 and 2014 showed that yields of selected corn hybrids in the solar corridor were similar to or up to 20% more than yields in solid-planted or monoculture system. In addition to improved productivity of corn, the solar corridor can be planted with low-growing grain or cover crops for supplemental grain, forage or conservation benefits. In 2014, an integrated cowpea corridor crop provided ˜ 2 T ha-1 of dry biomass at 3% N content, which was returned to soil for soil quality improvement. In 2015 additional corridor crops including buckwheat, sunn hemp, and canola were planted with selected corn hybrids for contributions to screen for effects on soil quality and beneficial (pollinators and predators) communities in the SCCS. To assess the beneficial impacts of SCCS, four corn hybrids were grown on a Mexico silt loam in mid-Missouri in 2015. Selected soil analyses representing soil quality indicators were conducted on soils collected during the growing season; beneficial insect communities were assessed through surveys of pollinating species attracted to corridor crops; plant productivity was assessed using leaf chlorophyll and brix measurements; and grain yields were determined for corn grown in conventional 76-cm rows and by incorporating 152-cm alleys as the solar corridor. Impacts of SCCS on these parameters will be discussed.