Evaluating impacts and benefits of cover crops in Nebraska
Our team is a part of the Precision Sustainable Agriculture Project where we have field trials and on-farm research related to the weed-pest interactions of planting corn “green” into a standing cereal rye cover crop, optimizing nitrogen rates in corn following different cover crop species, and more. Tauana Ferreira de Almeida is leading these efforts.
We are working with the cropping systems platform APSIM to answer questions about cover crop management in Nebraska and the broader Corn Belt. We are specifically working with field data from Nebraska evaluating a range of relative maturity corn hybrids that might extend the growth window for cover crops. We published some of this work in 2020 in Agronomy Journal. The Nebraska Environmental Trust is supporting a related project that in collaboration with Katja Koehler-Cole and Daren Redfearn will develop a decision-support tool for producers in Nebraska.
Andrea is collaborating with colleagues to understand the impact of cover crops on weeds in the Corn Belt, and some of this work was published in Agricultural and Environmental Letters in 2020.
Understanding soil health practice adoption and management
We are collaborating the Nebraska Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to support research and outreach activities with their Soil Health Demonstration Farms across the state. Fernanda Krupek is leading our work on this project, and more information about this initiative can be found at ttps://cropwatch.unl.edu/soilhealth.
Andrea is also a Co-PI on a National Science Foundation funded collaboration supported by the Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) working to map the “where” and “why” of soil health practices. The goal is to better understand the important social, biophysical and economic factors that drive or deter conservation to support more resilient agricultural systems. Learn more about the project at soilhealthfeedback.org.
Answering fundamental agronomic questions about perennial grains
We are working with collaborators around the Midwest and across the U.S. to evaluate the management and production of Kernza®, a perennial grain crop developed by the Land Institute. Andrea is a part of the Kernza® CAP, “Developing and deploying a perennial grain crop enterprise to improve environmental quality and rural prosperity.” Additionally we are participating in a kernza variety trial with seven other collaborators, planted in 2018, and initiated research on organically-managed kernza in 2019. We will also be evaluating existing data on nitrogen rates and kernza performance.
Cropping systems and water quality
We are investigating the relationships between different crop and land use patterns in Nebraska and their relationship to water quality. This work was a part of Brittany Kirsch’s MS projects, who was a student in the National Science Foundation National Research Training (NRT) program led by University of Nebraska-Lincoln scientists. Brittany’s MS thesis can be found at https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/agronhortdiss/196/.