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Iowa State corn in blue grass study...

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http://archive.news.iastate.edu/news/2012/feb/mooreiii

 

a simple search with "iowa state bluegrass corn"...  found this recent article, and MANY others over the last 4-5 years.

 

 

5-10 percent corn yield jump using erosion-slowing cover crops shown in ISU study

 

AMES, Iowa - The most recent annual results from a four-year Iowa State University study on using cover crops between rows of corn reveals that higher yields - by as much as 10 percent - are possible using the soil-saving approach to farming.

 

The results are the best yet in the ongoing research, according to Ken Moore, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor of Agriculture and Life Sciences and primary investigator on the project, who plans to carry on the trials for at least one more growing season.

 

Planting living mulch - or ground cover - between rows of corn is intended to perform several functions - maintain soil moisture, slow soil erosion, and sequester carbon.

 

There were factors in last year's weather that made the higher yields possible, according to Moore.

 

 

 

"This is really promising," said Moore of the results. "Last summer was hot, and the cover crop systems performed better because living mulch held the water in the soil better. It was the first year those ground covers went completely dormant. They weren't transpiring any water at all and they were serving as a barrier to moisture moving out of the soil, and that's good."

 

The study began with the 2008 growing season through support from a Sun Grant designed to look at the effect on the soil of removing corn stalks, cobs and leaves - called stover - to use as biomass for producing cellulosic-based ethanol.

 

After the 2010 planting season, funding for the project was exhausted, but Moore was able to carry on the tests on a limited basis, focusing only on those systems that showed the most promise.

 

Moore is working with Kendall Lamkey, chair of the Department of Agronomy and Pioneer Distinguished Chair in Maize Breeding, and Jeremy Singer, collaborator and assistant professor at the National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment on the study.

 

Removing the stover to make biofuel, it is feared, will reduce carbon in the soil and also speed erosion.

 

Moore says that the cover crop system helps solve both problems....

 

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for those bluegrass haters... they found fescue did even better ;D

 

My thought was... how would this work with soybeans?  would you have to have a "corn-corn"... non-rotation? if so, they look for other problems.

 

Don't know if you could just do the same thing with beans, and use the old row-crop planter (not drill) the bean in just as you planted the corn.

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I still maintain that it's a great idea, but that they should use something other than grass as the cover crop, due to the japanese beetle problem.  They don't have JB's in Ames you know.  I don't think they have 'em in Nebraska either.  ;)

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I still maintain that it's a great idea, but that they should use something other than grass as the cover crop, due to the japanese beetle problem.  They don't have JB's in Ames you know.  I don't think they have 'em in Nebraska either.  ;)

 

They are here in Nebraska also.

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Are you sure you're not seeing these things instead:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmonia_axyridis

 

Those little orange guys aren't nearly as much of a problem as the actual JB's.  They seem to fly around everywhere in the fall, usually about the time they pick the soybeans, but I haven't seen them do much damage, other than landing on you.

 

This is the actual JB:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_beetle

 

If you do actually have JB's, and it wouldn't surprise me since they spread pretty quickly, then your plants, grass, and trees have my condolences.  I've seen entire full sized trees fully defoliated by them in the space of a few weeks.  I've pulled up my dead turf grass like carpet and seen thousands of larva.

 

So I hope you can understand my level of alarm here at anything that increases the amount of turf grass in the area.  It's nothing personal.  You guys are awesome.  ;D

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We had those ones that Rusty posted show up here 10 years ago as a "natural" pesticide and the seemex to bite without provication.  In the time since, they seem to have gotten it on with our usual ladybugs and are much less aggressive towards humans, just strange to see the orange instead of red in their shells.

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I remember reading a gardening book several years ago that recommended planting ground cover for winter but never during growing season. It certainly makes sense considering how barren the ground usually is under a corn crop, blue grass would grow fantastic there! There were some studies in recent years of the benefits of adding a third or even fourth crop the the corn-soy rotation. I wonder if it could be mixed with the experimental technique in Sub-Saharan Africa involving using trees and multi-culture crops to improve soil quality. Because lets face it, monoculture farming is doing horrible things to our soil.

 

Besides biting, the Asian ladybug can be particularly annoying around Halloween when they move indoors. I've seen swarms so huge that you could fill several dust pans.  >:( They are also beneficial but they're just a variation of the ladybug, IMHO.

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