Project Details:

Title:
Sustainable system approach for improving soil health and managing soybean production

Parent Project: This is the first year of this project.
Checkoff Organization:Iowa Soybean Association
Categories:Sustainability, Crop management systems, Soil and tillage management
Organization Project Code:
Project Year:2018
Lead Principal Investigator:Mahdi Al-Kaisi (Iowa State University)
Co-Principal Investigators:
Keywords: Soil Health, sustainability

Contributing Organizations

Funding Institutions

Information and Results

Comprehensive project details are posted online for three-years only, and final reports indefinitely. For more information on this project please contact this state soybean organization.

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Final Project Results

Updated March 17, 2019:
This project was established in the fall of 2017 to determine the agronomic, soil health, water quality and economic benefits of integrating cover crop and tillage systems (not-till and chisel plow) in soybean production. The preliminary findings of this work demonstrated the short-term benefits of cover crop and NT in improving soil health as measured by the improvement of aggregate stability, water infiltration, and reduction in nitrate leaching under cover crop as compared to none cover crop treatments. The initial indicators of this systems’ approach shows the potential value of cover crop in reducing moisture content and improvement in soil temperature for early soybean germination as indicated by increase in soil temperate by 3-4 oF.

The seeding of cover crop before and after soybean crop in the Des Moines Lobe area is
encouraging giving the unique cold and wet soil conditions early in the spring. The integration of cover crop in the short-term as well as in the long-term is a good management practice for soil health and productivity, coupled with no-till. Although we are not reporting soybean yield at this time as we are waiting for the soybean harvest, a long-term study showed that soybean yield and economic return is much greater with no-till as compared to conventional tillage. We will provide more details and additional information at the end of the growing season after data analyses to show the potential agronomic, economic, soil heath, and water quality benefits of incorporating cover crops in a systems’ approach to soybean production in central Iowa

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Project Results:
This project was established in the fall of 2017 to determine the agronomic, soil health, water quality and economic benefits of integrating cover crop and tillage systems (not-till and chisel plow) in soybean production. The preliminary findings of this work demonstrated the short-term benefits of cover crop and NT in improving soil health as measured by the improvement of aggregate stability, water infiltration, and reduction in nitrate leaching under cover crop as compared to none cover crop treatments. The initial indicators of this systems’ approach shows the potential value of cover crop in reducing moisture content and improvement in soil temperature for early soybean germination as indicated by increase in soil temperate by 3-4 oF. The seeding of cover crop before and after soybean crop in the Des Moines Lobe area is encouraging giving the unique cold and wet soil conditions early in the spring. The integration of cover crop in the short-term as well as in the long-term is a good management practice for soil health and productivity, coupled with no-till. Although we are not reporting soybean yield at this time as we are waiting for the soybean harvest, a long-term study showed that soybean yield and economic return is much greater with no-till as compared to conventional tillage. We will provide more details and additional information at the end of the growing season after data analyses to show the potential agronomic, economic, soil heath, and water quality benefits of incorporating cover crops in a systems’ approach to soybean production in central Iowa.

Project Years