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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fort Collins, Colorado » Center for Agricultural Resources Research » Water Management and Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #342201

Research Project: Response of Ecosystem Services in Agricultural Watersheds to Changes in Water Availability, Land Use, Management, and Climate

Location: Water Management and Systems Research

Title: Where is the USA Corn Belt, and how is it changing?

Author
item Green, Timothy
item Kipka, Holm - Colorado State University
item David, Olaf - Colorado State University
item Mcmaster, Gregory

Submitted to: Science of the Total Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/29/2017
Publication Date: 3/15/2018
Citation: Green, T.R., Kipka, H., David, O., McMaster, G.S. 2018. Where is the USA Corn Belt, and how is it changing?. Science of the Total Environment. 618:1613-1618. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.09.325.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.09.325

Interpretive Summary: The “Corn Belt” is a commonly used term, but often a vaguely defined region in the Midwest USA. In this paper, the entire USA Corn Belt is defined geospatially and temporally using the Landuse and Agricultural Management Practices web-Service (LAMPS) with different confidence levels and associated irrigated areas. Mapped patterns have implications for food, feed, biofuel and water security. LAMPS is available for dynamic mapping of the patterns illustrated here, and for other crops and land uses.

Technical Abstract: The “Corn Belt” is a commonly used term, but often referenced as a vaguely defined region in the Midwest USA. A few key studies have delineated synoptic maps of the Corn Belt boundaries going back to the early 20th century, but a modern flexible and accessible framework for mapping the Corn Belt in space and time is needed. New tools provide reference maps for the Corn Belt in the 21st century and the ability to quantify space-time changes in corn cropping patterns. The Landuse and Agricultural Management Practices web-Service (LAMPS) was used to estimate the average corn (maize, Zea mays L.) area in each county of the contiguous 48 USA states for the years 2010–2016. LAMPS provides a modified areal Fraction of corn (Fc) used to map the Corn Belt at three intensity levels, for example. The resulting patterns illustrate a mostly contiguous Midwest Corn Belt surrounded by more scattered regions, including southern and eastern regions. We also mapped irrigated areas and temporal changes in Fc. Mapped patterns have the potential to help researchers study issues related to food, feed, biofuel, and water security.