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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #396741

Research Project: Linkages Between Crop Production Management and Sustainability in the Central Mississippi River Basin

Location: Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research

Title: Can perennialization of a crop rotation increase soil water available to the following crop?

item Baffaut, Claire
item Schreiner-Mcgraw, Adam

Submitted to: American Geophysical Union Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/4/2022
Publication Date: 12/12/2022
Citation: Baffaut, C., Schreiner-Mcgraw, A.P. 2022. Can perennialization of a crop rotation increase soil water available to the following crop? [abstract]. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, December 12-16, 2022, Chicago, Illinois.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: In an experiment on claypan soils, a combination of management practices designed to increase cropland agro-ecosystem services has resulted in improvements in soil health above the claypan. These improvements have in turn enhanced ecosystem services such as reduced soil erosion and they have mitigated the penalty for using no tillage with regards to the transport of non-incorporated dissolved pollutants. However, they have not increased production or reduced the total runoff volume leaving the field, indicating that these practices have not modified the properties of the claypan. Perennialization of the crop rotation, i.e., extending the rotation with a hay crop remaining in the field more than one year, may allow the grass roots to alter the claypan and increase the soil water available to the following crop (corn). The objectives of this analysis were to 1) determine the effects of perennialization of the rotation on soil water content and plant available water and 2) determine whether a crop growth and hydrologic model can simulate these effects. Gravimetric soil water content was determined in soil samples collected above and in the claypan during the 2022 corn season that followed termination of the hay crop, in a plot managed with the same rotation, and in a no-till plot where corn was also growing. Finally, simulated soil water content outputs using a pre-calibrated model will be compared to these measured data and analyzed over a 30-year weather sequence. This presentation will discuss the observed 2022 data and the long-term simulated results of this treatment.