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Workshop 1 - Dean Baas

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North Central Region One Water Action Forum

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Workshop 1 - Dean Baas

  1. 1. Great Lakes Big Rivers Climate Workshop Cover Crops and Resilience Dean Baas, MSU Extension December 11, 2018
  2. 2. Definition of resilience An ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change T. Tervonen, et al.,2015, A multi- criteria inference approach for anti- desertification management, Journal of Environmental Management, Volume 162.
  3. 3. Climate resiliency - Midwest is getting 37% heavier precipitation
  4. 4. Days with heavy precipitation Ball and Andresen, MSU, personal communication
  5. 5. Palmer Drought Severity Index
  6. 6. • Do they contribute to/detract from water quantity? • Do they: • Conserve water or use water in dry years? • Conserve water in wet years? • Increase resiliency to extreme climate conditions? Soil health, cover crops and water quantity
  7. 7. • NRCS definition: • A healthy, fully functioning soil is balanced to provide an environment that sustains and nourishes plants, soil microbes and beneficial insects. What is soil health? Source: Agriculture.com { } Pore space 50% Solids 50% 25% Water 25% Air 5% Organic Matter 45% Inorganic (mineral materials)
  8. 8. • Stabilized organic matter acts like a sponge and can absorb six times its weight in water • The active organic matter, and the microbes that feed on it, are central to nutrient cycles What is soil health? Source: Agriculture.com • Soil organic matter (SOM) is where the action is:
  9. 9. Soil health, SOM and water quantity Hudson, 1994 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 0 1 2 3 4 InchesofWater % Soil Organic Matter Inches of Water in the top 8 Inches of Soil vs SOM Sand Silt loam Silt clay loam
  10. 10. Soil health, SOM and water quantity • Water capacity from SOM: • Is not a one time advantage • Increases the size of the “container” • More volume to hold large rain events RunoffRunoff
  11. 11. Soil health, SOM and water quantity • Water capacity from SOM: • Is not a one time advantage • Increases the size of the “container” • More volume to supply crops Drought Crops Crops
  12. 12. Soil health, SOM and water quantity • Water capacity from SOM: • Is not a one time advantage • Increases the size of the “container” • More volume to refill with the next rain event RunoffRunoff
  13. 13. • Do they contribute to/detract from water quantity? • Do they: • Conserve water or use water in dry years? • Conserve water in wet years? • Increase resiliency to extreme climate conditions? Cover crops and water quantity
  14. 14. • A rye cover crop increased water storage (plant available water) in the top 30 cm by 18% • Equivalent to an extra 0.75 cm of water every time the upper 30 cm of soil was rewetted with rainfall. • The rye cover crop does use water in the spring, but in 5 out of 7 years this was replenished by the time of main crop planting. • In most years after cover crop termination water contents in the upper 30 cm were higher following a rye cover crop in the summer. Basche et al., 2015 Rye cover crop effect on plant available water after 12 years (Iowa)
  15. 15. Cover crop water use replaced by planting in 5 of 7 years Basche et al., 2015
  16. 16. Cover crop water use not replaced by planting in 2 of 7 years Basche et al., 2015
  17. 17. In a dry summer, a rye cover crop increased soil water content Basche et al., 2015
  18. 18. In a wet summer, a rye cover crop also increased soil water content Basche et al., 2015
  19. 19. CTIC survey for 2012, a drought year CTIC/SARE 2012 Cover Crop Survey
  20. 20. Water quality and climate resilience • Agriculture is under continued pressure to reduce its impact on water quality • Climate change adds to the problem
  21. 21. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Avg. Precipitation(in) Tileflow(in) Annual Tile Drainage Flow and Precipitation for Corn-Soybean Rotation near Ames, IA with or without a Cover Crop No Cover Crop Rye Cover Crop Precip. Kaspar – USDA ARS Cover crops help – Iowa example
  22. 22. 20 19.1 24.9 19.8 21.6 16.4 14.9 14.5 7.1 7.6 7.1 12.0 12.5 10.8 5.8 13.9 5.8 11.9 9.3 8.0 5.1 8.1 8.1 5.5 4.8 1.8 2.3 3.5 4.2 2.0 5.7 0 5 10 15 25 Annual Flow-wt NO3 Concentration of Tile Drainage for Corn- Soybean Rotation near Ames, IA with or without a Cover Crop 30 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Avg. AnnualFlow-wtNO3Conc.(ppm) Year No Cover Crop Rye Cover Crop Kaspar – USDA ARS Cover crops help – Iowa example
  23. 23. Total Nitrate-N Lost 2002-2015 in Tile Drainage Treatment Nitrate-N Lost in Drainage 14-yr total lbs/acre 14-yr avg. lbs/acre Corn-soybean no-till 488 35 Corn-soybean no-till w. rye cover crop 211 15 Reduction 277 20 % Reduction 57 Kaspar – USDA ARS Cover crops help – Iowa example
  24. 24. • Increasing SOM increases AWC which can improve resiliency in both wet and dry years. • Some years, cover crops reduce available water at crop planting, but it is usually replenished during the season. • In a dry spring, early termination can reduce cover crop water use. • Long-term cover crop use increases SOM and can increase available water most years. • Cover crops can reduce nutrient loss from extreme events. Conclusions
  25. 25. Dean Baas, PhD Extension Educator Ag and Agribusiness Institute Michigan State University Extension 612 E. Main Street Centreville, MI 49032 Office Phone: 269-467-5646 Cell Phone: 269-967-9672 Email: baasdean@anr.msu.edu Thanks!!! Questions?
  26. 26. MSU is an affirmative- action, equal-opportunity employer. Michigan State University Extension programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran status.

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