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Research Goal

In 2006, our research group began managing the long term field experiment called the Living Field Laboratory, which was started in 1993 by the CS Mott Sustainable Ag Chair, Dr. Richard Harwood. The original experiment was designed to investigate the benefits of leguminous cover crops (as green manure) and/or the addition of composted dairy manure in two integrated systems compared to a conventional and an organic agricultural system. The term “integrated” in this case refers to targeted, banded application of herbicide, reduced tillage, and stringent accounting of N inputs either using the pre-sidedress nitrate test (PSNT) or N analysis of composted dairy manure. During the past 14 years, a crop rotation of corn-corn-soybean-wheat was compared to continuous corn where every entry point of the rotation was present each year. Overall, results indicated that cover crops grown in a diverse crop rotation and the addition of composted dairy manure can increase soil organic matter, reducing crop nitrogen (N) fertilizer requirements, while still supporting desirable crop yields.

Picture of LFL layout
Last Updated on Friday, 03 December 2010 19:51