Project Details:

MU Certified Strip Trial Initiative: Cover Crop Trials

Parent Project: MU Certified Strip Trial Initiative
Checkoff Organization:Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council
Categories:Crop management systems, Education, Soil fertility
Organization Project Code:378-21
Project Year:2021
Lead Principal Investigator:John Lory (University of Missouri)
Co-Principal Investigators:
Kaitlyn Bissonnette (University of Missouri)
Kent Shannon (University of Missouri)
Keywords: Cover Crops, soil and tillage management

Contributing Organizations

Funding Institutions

Information and Results

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Project Summary

A program helping farmers validate management decisions on their farm and document efficiency and environmental stewardship. Various Cover Crop options and studying cover crop termination are examined.

Project Objectives

Our capacity to work directly with farmers and the farmer panel to annually consider new ideas for trials provides a unique program that can improve and expand trial options over time. We can work with farmers to identify key questions; our network of MU specialists can then work with farmers to provide practical solutions to the challenges of implementing trials on-farm trials. Our focus now is on expanding the outreach element of the program.

This proposal also seeks to preserve the ability of the strip trial panel to continue to set priorities for cover crop trials and to solicit other organizations to contribute to a program focused on expanding Missouri farmer’s understanding of cover crop management.

Project Deliverables

Key elements of the program include:
•Reliance on a farmer panel to annually identify and prioritize strip trial options offered.
•Statistically valid side-by-side comparisons of two or three management strategies in a trial,ideally tested on multiple Missouri farms for two or more years.
•Provide the farmer access to professional support to answer questions and facilitate implementation of the trial.
•Provide the cooperating farmer a comprehensive report of trial results for their trial.
•Integrate trial results across farms to improve MU recommendations and document what farmers are doing right and where there are opportunities for improvement.
•Regional meetings in January and February with farmers who had trials and farmers who are interested in trials to discuss trial results.
•Sharing results through web pages, social media, and news media.

Progress of Work

Updated April 27, 2021:
The “MU Certified” Strip Trial Program is a signature program helping farmers validate document efficiency and environmental stewardship. The program is a collaboration between Missouri farmers, MU Extension, Missouri Soybean
Merchandising Council, Missouri Corn Growers Association, and the Missouri Fertilizer Board.

The strip trial program relies on our farmer advisory panel to help prioritize trials available each year. Advisory members
are Robert Alpers (Prairie Home), Neal Bredehoeft (Alma), Matt Lambert (Brookfield), Mark Lehenbauer (Hannibal), Brian
Lehman (Versailles), Aaron Porter (Dexter), Dylan Rosier (Mound City), Linus Rothermich (Auxvasse), Doug Thomas (Brashear), and Jules Willot (Laddonia) who are joined by industry representative Scott Wilburn (MFA, Laddonia).

Cover crops have many benefits including providing soil cover and increasing water infiltration and water holding
capacity. Soybeans have a dynamic role in the cover crop story. On one hand, soybean yield can increase following a cover crop (Bar Chart, green bars). But when cover crop follows soybean ahead of corn, corn yields can suffer

The farmer panel overseeing strip trial options has emphasized the importance of finding solutions to low yield when a cover crop follows soybean ahead of corn. In fall 2020, we initiated a new trial option that builds residue ahead of soybean by planting soybean “into the green”. In this trial we track a field two years: first year tracking soybean yield after planting into the green, and in the second year, tracking corn planted into the resulting higher residue. The treatment is compared to a no-cover control. Three of these trials were initiated this fall. The “MU Certified” Strip Trial program remains committed to helping soybean farmers find the best management strategies for using cover crops with soybeans.

Final Project Results

Benefit to Soybean Farmers

A strip trial program has the potential to expand the delivery of unbiased best management recommendations for nutrient management, agronomic, and conservation management practices. This information will improve the efficiency and profitability of Missouri farmers. Equally as important, this program demonstrates proactive intent of Missouri’s grain producers to use agrochemicals and nutrients wisely and efficiently, and promotes practical innovations in agronomic management.

Performance Metrics

Project Years