Soil and nutrient loss and runoff from agricultural fields are major problems environmentally and economically in the U.S. and globally. After heavy spring rains, soil and water runoff containing fertilizer and pesticides is washed downstream, carrying the sediment and chemicals to the Gulf of Mexico.
This process creates a large oxygen-starved area which is toxic to aquatic organisms and damages the commercial fishing and tourism industries. Tree-based buffers are an effective method for preventing runoff, however they can negatively affect crop yields. Based on years of research, University of Missouri scientists suggest farmers use buffers between crops and trees; this technique reduces soil runoff and maintains good growing conditions, creating economic benefits for farmers and, ultimately, for society in general.
Soil and nutrient loss and runoff from agricultural fields are major problems environmentally and economically in the US and globally. After heavy spring rains, soil and water runoff containing fertilizer and pesticides is washed downstream, carrying the sediment and chemicals to the Gulf of Mexico. This process creates a large oxygen-starved area which is toxic to aquatic organisms and damages the commercial fishing and tourism industries. Tree-based buffers are an effective method for preventing runoff, however they can negatively affect crop yields. Based on years of research, University of Missouri scientists suggest farmers use buffers between crops and trees; this technique reduces soil runoff and maintains good growing conditions, creating economic benefits for farmers and, ultimately, for society in general.
Credit: MU News Bureau
It is clear that tree-based buffers are an effective method to prevent soil runoff and can be an important strategy to protect farmland and downstream ecology and water quality," lead researcher Ranjith Udawatta said. "Finding the best ways to use tree buffers effectively while still maintaining high crop yields is imperative for the long-term success of the agricultural economy."
For their most recent study, Udawatta, an associate research professor in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and the MU Center for Agroforestry, led a team of researchers who tested different strategies for preventing soil runoff. These strategies featured different combinations of crops, trees, buffer zones where tree roots were cut to prevent expansion into the crop areas, and sections of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land. CRP is a federal program that encourages farmers to convert highly erodible cropland and other environmentally sensitive acreage to vegetative cover, such as native grasses, wildlife plantings, trees, filter strips, or riparian buffers.
The researchers found that the most effective tactic was to utilize CRP strategically to create buffers between the trees and crops depending on the size of the trees. For example, for trees 20 feet high, Udawatta recommends a buffer of CRP land at least six to nine feet wide before planting corn.
"We found tree buffers along streams and waterways hurt crop growth in two ways," Udawatta said. "The shade from the tall trees prevents sunlight from reaching the crops, and the trees win the competition for water, as their roots reach much wider and deeper. Cutting the tree roots alone doesn't work, as the shade from the trees still reduces crop yields adjacent to the trees."
Although being planted next to trees reduces corn yields, Udawatta did find that soybeans seemed unaffected by the trees. He suggests farmers plant soybeans next to tree buffers if they do not have enough land to plant into CRP.
The study, "Yield Differences Influenced by Distance from Riparian Buffers and Conservation Reserve Program," was coauthored by Clark Gantzer, Tim Reinbott, Ray Wright, and Robert Pierce II and was published in Agronomy Journal in 2016.
Nathan Hurst | EurekAlert!
Researchers discover natural product that could lead to new class of commercial herbicide
16.07.2018 | UCLA Samueli School of Engineering
Advance warning system via cell phone app: Avoiding extreme weather damage in agriculture
12.07.2018 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e.V.
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.07.2018 | Life Sciences
16.07.2018 | Earth Sciences