Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Experiment Demonstrates 110 Years of Sustainable Agriculture

01.10.2008
Researchers have shown that a plot of land on the campus of Auburn University that has been maintained by a century old practice of sustainable farming can produce similar cotton crops to those using other methods. This 110 year old continuous field experiment, called “the Old Rotation”, utilizes traditional crop rotation methods and includes winter legumes to protect the soil from winter erosion.

A plot of land on the campus of Auburn University shows that 110 years of sustainable farming practices can produce similar cotton crops to those using other methods.

In 1896, Professor J.F. Duggar at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama (now Auburn University) started an experiment to test his theories that sustainable cotton production was possible on Alabama soils if growers would use crop rotation and include winter legumes (clovers and/or vetch) to protect the soil from winter erosion.

Today, his experiment on the campus of Auburn University is the oldest, continuous cotton experiment in the world and the third oldest field crop experiment in the United States on the same site. The experiment, known as “the Old Rotation,” has continued with only slight modifications in treatments and was placed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1988.

Researchers at Auburn University and at USDA-Soil Dynamics Laboratory in Auburn, AL, have prepared the first ever comprehensive research publication covering the entire 110-yr history of this experiment. It was published in the September-October issue of Agronomy Journal, and provides insight into issues both past and present that effect sustainable crop production in the South.

The thirteen plots in the Old Rotation include (i) continuous cotton, (ii) a 2-yr rotation of cotton with corn, and (iii) a 3-year rotation of cotton-corn-wheat-soybean. These crop rotations include treatments with and without winter legumes (usually crimson clover and/or vetch) and with and without fertilizer nitrogen.

After more than 110 years, the Old Rotation continues to document the long-term effects of crop rotation and winter legumes on cotton production in the Deep South. It provides growers, students, and faculty with a living demonstration of fundamental agronomic practices that result in sustainable crop production. Long-term yields indicate that winter legumes are as effective as nitrogen fertilizer in producing non-irrigated, 10-yr average cotton yields of 1,100 pounds lint per acre. Winter legumes and crop rotations contribute to increased soil organic matter. Higher soil organic matter results in higher crop yields.

In 1997, the Old Rotation entered a new era of agricultural production where boll weevil eradication, genetically modified crops, and conservation tillage almost eliminated the need for the plow and pesticides. In 2003, irrigation was added to half of each plot. Yields of cotton, corn, wheat and soybean continue to increase far beyond the yields of Professor Duggar’s generation. Since initiating conservation tillage practices in 1997, all-time, non-irrigated record yields have been made on all the crops grown on the Old Rotation: 1,710 pounds cotton lint per acre in 2006, 95 bushels wheat per acre in 2001, 236 bushels corn per acre in 1999, and 67 bushels of double-cropped soybean per acre in 1997 after wheat.

The full article is available for no charge for 30 days following the date of this summary. View the abstract at http://agron.scijournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/100/5/1493.

A peer-reviewed international journal of agriculture and natural resource sciences, Agronomy Journal is published six times a year by the American Society of Agronomy, with articles relating to original research in soil science, crop science, agroclimatology and agronomic modeling, production agriculture, and software.

The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) http://www.agronomy.org, is a scientific society helping its 8,000+ members advance the disciplines and practices of agronomy by supporting professional growth and science policy initiatives, and by providing quality, research-based publications and a variety of member services.

Sara Uttech | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.agronomy.org
http://agron.scijournals.org

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Back to Nature: Palm oil plantations are being turned back into protected rainforest
21.03.2019 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

nachricht The inner struggle of the evening primrose: Chloroplasts are caught up in an evolutionary arms race
14.03.2019 | Max-Planck-Institut für Molekulare Pflanzenphysiologie

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

Im Focus: Researchers 3D print metamaterials with novel optical properties

Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna

A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>