Corporate supply chain, commodity production group, government farm and environmental protection agency and societal forces have stimulated the development of a wide range of assessment tools to determine the sustainability of farming practices. These efforts are being led nationally by Field to Market, a consortium of multinational agribusiness, commodity group, academic and non-governmental entities. Field to Market has used a Science Advisory Board to develop FieldPrint Calculator for the assessment of farm sustainability (with a focus on energy use,
Research Category: Water Quality
This project will build a 12-row, 30-inch row spacing, cover crop interseeder that can apply liquid nitrogen and seed a cover crop in one pass. This will expand upon ongoing farm research using a small scale prototype interseeder that was built using commonly sourced Yetter Manufacturing strip freshener units, incorporating the seeds and a Gandy seeder. The project focus is to show farmers how they can successfully establish a cover crop in a northern climate and efficiently do that with one pass across the field during an in-season nitrogen application.
This project complements the many other collaborative effort occurring in the larger watershed. Unfortunately, stream and near stream sediment sources are a significant contributor to chronic turbidity and habitat degradation in the Root River, yet little has been done to address this resource concern. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) Fisheries and Trout Unlimited have done a great job to improve stream and habitat conditions where fisheries exist. However, the region needs a strategy that is feasible to address stream sedimentation and habitat degradation at a larger scale.
Nitrogen (N) is an essential input for profitable corn production. Previous research (Randall and Mulla, 2001, Dinnes et al., 2002) has shown subsurface tile drainage systems deliver nitrate-N to surface waters and thereby degrade water quality. Row crop agriculture in the Midwest is under scrutiny to reduce NO3 concentrations and loads in tile drainage. The use of cover crops and applying appropriate rates of N for corn are potential management strategies to reduce NO3 losses in tile drainage water (Dinnes et al.,
The goal of this project is to develop a state-of-the-art large mesocosm facility to examine how climate change will impact agricultural productivity and other environmental impacts in Minnesota. The results will provide important knowledge to Minnesota corn growers with respect to climate change adaptation. Better understanding of how current cultivars respond to changing climate will help with developing an integrated climate change adaptation plan and guide future research efforts.
This research will use a combination of field research and modeling to quantify the water balances of corn production systems, with and without the presence of subsurface drainage, along a precipitation gradient from eastern South Dakota to south central Minnesota. Understanding the hydrologic response of drainage and crop water consumption at both the field and watershed scale will help corn growers be economically competitive while also informing development of tools and management approaches that can minimize their environmental impact under various climate conditions.
The objective of the research is to show that perennial living mulches can be established in sensitive locations within cropped fields and managed so that they can support continued row crop production while conferring environmental benefits.
A secondary project titled “Recycling nitrate with electrodialysis” is ongoing. The current progress report if for that project focus. Jan 19th, 2017
Presentations and/or displays to audiences and conferences and meeting around the state concerning the activities and resources that the University of Minnesota has concerning environmental stewardship with respect to agricultural drainage and fertility management pertaining to water quality.
The aim of this research is to gain a better understanding of how agriculture fits within the regional water cycle in the Upper Midwest. This project will use a combination of measurements made at field and regional scales, and mesoscale meteorology-land surface modeling to determine agriculture’s contribution to regional evapotranspiraton (ET), and how changing management to increase water storage coupled with supplemental irrigation can enhance productivity and affect regional hydrology.
This project supports an area of emphasis within the University of Minnesota Extension for an Extension Educator (Soil-Water and Nutrient Management emphasis). This position’s main objective is to focus on issues pertaining to water quality/nutrient management. Sub-objectives relate to: 1) drainage planning and design for water management; 2) incorporating information relating drainage management to soil nutrient management; and 3) incorporating relevant issues in tillage and manure management to provide additional value and information to corn growers.