Summaries of five recently completed research projects are now available from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. The topics include: nitrogen contributions to soil, soil health in riparian buffers, sustainability through soil health practices, and how winter canola can enhance crop rotations.
The projects were funded by the Leopold Center's long-running Competitive Grants Program. The new reports summarize what was learned from each project and offer links to related resources.
Explore the economics of diversifying Iowa’s cropping systems
One of the research projects explored the economics of growing winter canola to enhance annual crop rotations. This project is part of a larger effort that looks at diversifying conventional annual cropping systems, focusing on winter canola as an additional crop within a corn and soybean rotation. They found that winter canola can provide some environmental benefits and could be feasible if higher yields of canola were achieved.
The "Cultivating Conservation" project looked at Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) on different tillage methods in the Clear Creek Watershed in Iowa and Johnson counties. Using SOC as the common thread, researchers examined yield, soil erosion, and farmer costs and profits to determine overall system health. They determined that using methods to build and keep SOC should be emphasized to improve soil productivity in the agro-ecosystem, and in turn, increase profitability.
The research project leaders have reported summaries of their results which are available on the Leopold Center's website: leopold.iastate.edu/news/results.
Titles of these newly completed projects are:
* Linking soil and water quality with crop performance across a continuum of tillage and management strategies: Enhancing sustainability through soil health-promoting practices (part I or a three-year program)
* Suitability of winter canola (Brassica napus) for enhancing summer annual crop rotations in Iowa II --Economic analysis
* Cultivating conservation: Bringing ecology, economics and ethics together
* Understanding microbial contributions to soil aggregation and organic matter accumulation
* Soil health and productivity in riparian grass buffers: A re-evaluation after 13 years.
All of these topics can be found at leopold.iastate.edu.
Center has funded more than 500 grant projects since 1988
The Leopold Center has funded more than 500 competitive grant projects since 1988 under four initiatives: Ecology, Marketing and Food Systems, Policy and Cross-cutting. You will find many more reports, organized by the year projects were completed at the Leopold Center’s website.
The Leopold Center for Sustainable Ag was established in 1987 through the Iowa Groundwater Protection Act. It is a research and education center at ISU created to identify and reduce negative farming impacts and to develop new ways to farm profitably while conserving natural resources. The center's competitive grants program awards funds to researchers and investigators across Iowa and has extended more than 500 competitive grants since 1988. For information about the Leopold Center visit leopold.iastate.edu.