Determine the outcome of best practices on the farm

One of the teams studying the effects of soil organic matter on corn yields in the upper Midwest. Soil samples are taken and the organic matter content is analyzed. Above the soil are crop residues from the previous season, which protects the soil from erosion during the winter. New corn crops are beginning to emerge.Credits: Wisconsin Discovery Farm

Baking a cake from scratch has more variables than baking a cake from a boxed mix. The reason and timing of the cake mix was controversial, but it is popular and produces a uniform product. (They really patented in the 1930s.)

Scientific research is very similar to that cake mix and is very well managed.Recommendations trainingSome control is lost, for example, from field surveys in greenhouses and farms. Thus, practicing farming is more like baking from scratch than baking from a boxed mix.

However, it is important to see the results on these farmlands.They are yield Results similar to what the study suggests?

A team of researchers from Emily Oldfield and Upper Midwest addressed this question.They recently got results Soil Science Society of America JournalPublications of the American Society of Soil Sciences.

The team is specifically soil organic matter When Yield of corn.. They compiled data from 170 cornfields from 49 different farms. The farm was in a network of producers based in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

“The loss of organic Matter “Farm problems are a major global problem and are associated with reduced soil fertility that supports crop growth and yields, which can be reduced,” said Oldfield. Food security, Reduces rural livelihoods and threatens freshwater systems. “

In response to these issues, multiple studies have shown various best practices that farmers can implement. They range from no-tillage to crop rotation to the addition of fertilizer to the soil. All these practices can increase the amount of soil organic matter.A study by Oldfield and her collaborators quantifies how the implementation of these practices affects both soil organic matter and soil organic matter. Yield At a working farm.

“In the field of research, scientists can control many variables,” says Oldfield. “They can set up plots to minimize the difference between soil type and soil texture (sandy or silty). Greenhouse studies offer a high degree of control over temperature and photoperiod.”

But farmers practice with all the elements. This is why it is important to determine the consequences of using different practices on a real farm.

This study is certainly Positive relationship Between the amount of soil organic matter and the crop yield.

The results regarding fertilizer application practices were not very clear. This may be due to the timing of fertilizer application on different farmlands. “The addition of fertilizer as an readily available organic nutrient source is clearly important in the context of the region,” says Oldfield. “It has also been shown to have a positive effect on soil health. Our analysis shows that not only fertilizers and soil organic matter, but also all nitrogen from fertilizers is strongly associated with agricultural productivity in the region. there is.”

Studies have also found that the relationship between crop yields and soil organic matter varies with crop rotation. For example, fields planted in continuous corn had higher soil organic matter content on average, but lower yields. Corn planted in crop rotation (corn-soybean and corn-oat-alfalfa) yielded high yields.

“The benefits of crop rotation over yield are well known,” says Oldfield. “Many studies have shown that increased crop diversity can lead to higher yields. Diverse cropping systems result in higher yields of maize under both normal and bad weather conditions. It has been shown that they also help control pests and pathogens. “

“Farmers who make management decisions based on changes in their practices need to know the potential impact that improving soil health may have on their profitability,” says Oldfield. increase. “This requires an understanding of the relationship between yield, indicators of soil health, and management in the context of soil characteristics and the inherent variation of climate.”

“Our data comes from a farm in operation, so it incorporates variability associated with practices that are difficult to integrate into controlled field experiments,” says Oldfield. “Our results suggest that, in the context of the region, increased soil organic matter levels in surface soils, coupled with increased crop rotation diversity, may generate higher agricultural returns. . ”

Crop rotation diversification improves soil and reduces fertilizer costs

For more information:
Emily E. Oldfield et al., Positive link between soil organic matter and crop yield throughout the regional network of work farms, Soil Science Society of America Journal (2021). DOI: 10.1002 / saj2.20349

Quote: Https: // Determines Results of Farm Best Practices (February 21, 2022) Obtained on February 21, 2022

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Determine the outcome of best practices on the farm

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