Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The effect of landscape position on biomass crop yield

Date:
March 16, 2010
Source:
American Society of Agronomy
Summary:
Scientists investigate differences in woody and herbaceous crop productivity and biomass yield as a function of landscape position at the field scale.

The emergence of biofuels into agricultural systems presents new opportunities for farmers to improve economic return while providing critical ecosystem services. Integrating perennial crops can help meet food, fuel and fiber needs, but will require an understanding of biomass productivity on specific landscape positions and environments. To diversify their farms, farmers will need to know where their crops will give them the best yield.

Related Articles


Landscape processes, such as hill slope length and gradient, water retention and flow patterns, and soil properties have been shown to influence crop yield. In recent years, the process of describing and analyzing landscape terrain features has become more accurate and precise due to advances in Geographic Information Systems technology, allowing farmers and landowners to explore new cropping systems design strategies, such as directed placement of annual and perennial crops.

Scientists at the University of Minnesota led by Gregg Johnson investigated differences in woody and herbaceous crop productivity and biomass yield as a function of landscape position at the field scale. Results from this study were published in the 2010 March-April issue of the Agronomy Journal. The journal is published by the American Society of Agronomy. The study was supported by the Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment at the University of Minnesota.

The researchers sleeved seven varying landscape positions to represent a range of topographical features common to the region with varying soil moisture and erosion characteristics. Within each landscape position, a series of woody and herbaceous annual and perennial crops were planted. Crops included alfalfa, corn, willow, cottonwood, poplar, and switchgrass.

The results of this study demonstrate that hillslope processes influence biomass productivity. Corn grain and stover yield was lowest in flat and depositional areas that retain water for longer periods of time and highest on well drained summit positions. Corn grain yield was not significantly influenced by any of the soil or terrain attributes tested, but corn stover yield was positively influenced by nitrogen, soil darkness profile, and terrain slope.

Willow productivity, on the other hand, was among the highest at the depositional position and lowest at the summit position. Alfalfa and poplar productivity was highest at a site characterized by a relatively steep slope with potentially erosive soils. Understanding landscape position preferences of crops could allow for more efficient use of field space that reduces the risks of traditional agriculture.

This research will help to develop a multifunctional approach to agricultural land management where environmental and ecological components are considered, based on a sound economic foundation. For example, a desire to improve water quality or wildlife habit while maintaining productivity and profitability may define decision making in this context.

Including perennial crops as part of the overall cropping system is one option for improving profitability while meeting water quality and/or wildlife habitat goals. Overall, this study represents a novel approach to the design of cropping system strategies that lead to optimizing the landscape through a deeper understanding of site-specific crop growth in the context of economic, environmental, and social goals.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society of Agronomy. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Thelemann et al. The Effect of Landscape Position on Biomass Crop Yield. Agronomy Journal, 2010; 102 (2): 513 DOI: 10.2134/agronj2009.0058

Cite This Page:

American Society of Agronomy. "The effect of landscape position on biomass crop yield." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100316152523.htm>.
American Society of Agronomy. (2010, March 16). The effect of landscape position on biomass crop yield. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100316152523.htm
American Society of Agronomy. "The effect of landscape position on biomass crop yield." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100316152523.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins