• [ February 6, 2014 ]
  • Cropping System Research Works to Benefit Farmers, Society, and Environment


Environmental monitoring as part of the Landscape Biomass Project's research. Photo courtesy of the Landscape Biomass Program.

Iowa State University’s Landscape Biomass Project studies cropping systems that are profitable for farmers and balance societal needs for food, feed, fuel, energy, and clean air and water.

Through this project, researchers are learning how to strategically integrate second-generation bioenergy crops, such as triticale, switchgrass, and trees, with food and feed crops. The integration of deep-rooted second generation bioenergy crops can provide valuable co-products for farmers as well as environmental benefits such as erosion control and underground carbon storage.

The Landscape Biomass Project studies the amount of variation in grain yields, biomass yields, soil moisture, soil water quality, and profitability in five novel cropping systems at different landscape positions. The research is located at the Iowa State Uthe Research Farm.

So far, project researchers have found that with more diversified cropping systems come more stable or even increased crop yields. A journal article detailing the projects findings to-date is available here. The project has also identified the need for markets and infrastructure to support second-generation bioenergy crop growers.

Moving forward, project leaders plan to continue research, educate policy makers, and help answer farmers’ questions.


Project Seeks Cropping Systems that Profit Farmer, Provide Food and Fuel and Scrub Carbon Out of the Air, Iowa State University News Service


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