Promoting “manuresheds” to combat nutrient pollution while taking advantage of manure’s productive uses.
Keeping Carbon In Soil And Out Of The Atmosphere
As greenhouse gases continue to accumulate and trap heat in our atmosphere, effective mitigation tactics are now more essential than ever. To help develop sustainable agriculture practices that align with this goal, ARS scientists at the Grassland Soil and Water Research Laboratory in Temple, TX, found that intercropping perennial herbaceous crops with trees successfully increased organic soil carbon levels. During their trials, the team intercropped switchgrass—a hardy perennial plant commonly found in prairies—with poplar trees and discovered that the combination was especially effective in sequestering carbon inside the soil. This discovery is particularly important because carbon sequestration, or storing carbon in plants and trees, can prevent carbon from rising to the atmosphere and becoming a greenhouse gas.
With the success of this switchgrass and poplar intercropping system, forest plantation owners can enjoy additional environmental services like nutrient cycling, improved water use, and heightened air quality. Perennial herbaceous crops like switchgrass are also highly in demand as fuel sources for the bioenergy industry, allowing growers to enjoy greater economic returns while also committing to sustainable agriculture.
Removing Carbon from Atmosphere
Explore Other Discoveries
Manuresheds Combat Nutrient Pollution
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.
Adjusting Cattle Grazing Schedules
Researchers discovered that sending cattle to feedlots earlier than the traditional timing of October may provide a two- fold benefit.
Better Forecasting To Help Agriculture
ARS researchers helped the United Kingdom improve the accuracy of its widely used weather-forecasting models.
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.
Diesel Fuel Gets A Boost From Tung Oil
ARS scientists successfully used tung oil as the starting material for a new additive to improve the performance of diesel fuel.
Cover Crops Shift The Carbon Balance
Planting cover crops and not tilling the soil improves the soil’s carbon balance with minimal impact on the water balance.