Project Details:

Title:
Protecting Soil after Soybean

Parent Project: This is the first year of this project.
Checkoff Organization:Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council
Categories:Crop management systems, Sustainability
Organization Project Code:435-20
Project Year:2020
Lead Principal Investigator:Peter Scharf (University of Missouri)
Co-Principal Investigators:
Keywords: Crop Management Systems, Sustainability

Contributing Organizations

Funding Institutions

Information and Results

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Project Summary

We do not have the answer for how to protect soil after soybean without hurting corn. We need to find it, quick.

Project Objectives

The goals of the project are to:
1. Use a farmer board to brainstorm ways to protect soil after soybean without hurting a following corn crop, with the
expectation that cover crops will be a key component.
2. Test 20 to 30 of the brainstormed ideas in small plots on the University of Missouri research farm to see how well soil
is protected and how they affect yield of a following corn crop.
3. Feed the best ideas in the research plots to the Missouri Strip Trial program for on-farm testing

Project Deliverables

We need to try a lot of approaches quickly. Small plots are the best way to do that. After gathering ideas from farmers, we’ll test those ideas in small plots, then work to take the best performers to the farm.

1. Use of a farmer board to choose treatments for small-plot experiments. This collects the ideas from people who are thinking about the problem and who know which solutions could be practical and which could not.
2. Testing 20 to 30 approaches. Most cover crop experiments have used no more than 6 to 10 approaches.
3. Opening the door to a range of both cover crop species and management approaches (for the cover crop and for the following corn).
4. Evaluating soil protection level.

Progress of Work

Updated April 27, 2021:
The goals of the project are to use a farmer board to brainstorm ways to protect soil after soybean without hurting a following corn crop, with the expectation that cover crops will be a key component. Test 20 to 30 of the brainstormed ideas in small plots on the University of Missouri research farm to see how well soil is protected and how they affect yield of a following corn crop.

The farmer board met to brainstorm ideas for the project, coming up with 20 different ideas for how to protect soil after soybean. The main ideas we’re testing are:
• Use species other than rye as cover crops to protect soil after soybean.
• Use rye to protect soil after soybean, but plant rye in strips and plant the next year’s corn between those strips.
• Use rye to protect soil after soybean; apply most nitrogen fertilizer on with the planter so that rye’s negative effects on the soil nitrogen supply do not hurt the corn.
• Plant soybean into tall rye, kill the rye, and count on it protecting soil for a whole year.

All of these ideas were implemented in 2019. In spring 2020 we'll plant corn to see whether they hurt yield. Monthly
photos will be taken to assess how well each one protects the soil. The best ideas in the research plots will be added to the Missouri Strip Trial program for on-farm testing.

Final Project Results

Benefit to Soybean Farmers

Protecting our topsoil is the only way that farming will be viable for future generations of Missouri farmers. Protecting the income of current Missouri farmers while they protect the soil is the only way forward.

Performance Metrics

Project Years