ARS scientists successfully used tung oil as the starting material for a new additive to improve the performance of diesel fuel.
Adoption of No-Till and Cover Crops Shifts The Carbon Balance
Researchers have found that converting a conventionally tilled field to a management system of planting cover crops and not tilling the soil improves the soil’s carbon balance with only minimal impact on the water balance. Conventionally tilled corn-soybean fields have a negative carbon balance, but reducing tillage and adding a cover crop shifts the carbon balance to a positive net ecosystem productivity.
Researchers at the ARS National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment in Ames, IA, found that reduced soil disturbance is primarily responsible for the change. After 2 years of using cover crops and no tilling, microbial biomass doubled in the upper 15 cm of the soil. Understanding the coupling of carbon and water in agricultural systems helps quantify the effects from changes in agricultural management, which provides producers with information on soil management practices that will enhance their soil and increase productivity.
Explore Other Discoveries
Diesel Fuel Gets A Boost From Tung Oil
Better Grass For Cattle And Cars
Scientists are looking into how they can improve upon the grass cattle put in their bellies and you put in your tank.
Better Forecasting To Help Agriculture
ARS researchers helped the United Kingdom improve the accuracy of its widely used weather-forecasting models.
Adjusting Cattle Grazing Schedules
Researchers discovered that sending cattle to feedlots earlier than the traditional timing of October may provide a two- fold benefit.
Keep Carbon In Soil, Out Of Atmosphere
Intercropping perennial herbaceous crops with trees successfully increased organic soil carbon levels.
Manuresheds Combat Nutrient Pollution
Promoting “manuresheds” to combat nutrient pollution while taking advantage of manure’s productive uses.
Livestock Fight Against Wildfires
Scientists are investigating the effects of land use management practices on wildfires as part of USDA’s Long-Term Agroecosystem Research program.