Impacts of cropping system diversity and input reduction on greenhouse gas mitigation, soil and water quality, and economic performance of Iowa grain systems [XP2017-11]

Project Description: 

The goal of this project is to achieve a systems-level understanding of the relationships among agronomic practices, carbon and nitrogen cycling, soil function, and the provision of ecosystem services in agricultural systems. Two established experiment sites are used in this project: the Long-Term Agroecological Research (LTAR) Experiment, established in 1998 in Greenfield, Iowa, and the USDA-ARS Organic Water Quality (OWQ) site, Boone, Iowa, in its fifth year.

The project objectives include:

  • an assessment of different crop and cover crop sequences on soil health indicators, soil microbial function, and ecosystems services
  • an understanding of the effect of weeds, insects, and diseases under different management practices;
  • an assessment of the reduction in nitrate leaching and climate change mitigation
  • recommendations for methods to enhance ecosystem services and soil health improvement.


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Lead Investigator: 
Kathleen Delate
Lead Investigator Bio: 

Kathleen Delate is a professor in the departments of Horticulture and Agronomy at Iowa State University. She has been with the University since 2004. In 2010, she began serving in the area of organic agriculture with an Extension appointment. Delate earned a bachelor of science in agronomy and a master's in horticulture science from the University of Florida. She earned a Ph.D. in agricultural ecology from the University of California-Berkeley.


Co Investigators: 

Cynthia Cambardella, USDA-ARS National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment
Ann Johanns, ISU Extension and Outreach Farm Management Specialist