Activities and research
Researchers from North Dakota State University and the USDA-ARS Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory in Mandan are investigating agronomic, environmental, and economic impacts of cover crops in ND’s semi-arid cropping systems. We are evaluating the influence of root crops, warm and cool season grasses, warm and cool season legumes, and non-mycorrhizal and mycorrhizal broadleaf species as cover crops planted individually and in mixtures. Research is also being conducted on cover crop termination techniques and intercropping methods of establishing cash crops into cover crops. Our initial interest in cover crop research was motivated by the work of ND farmers who turned to cover crops as a way to retain soil moisture, build soil structure, protect against soil erosion, reduce chemical inputs, and enhance nutrient cycling on their farms.
Selection of Cover Crops Used in North Dakota
Warm Season Grasses
Cool Season Grasses – (http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/disaster/drought/annualforagesfall.html)
Warm Season Legumes
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Other important contacts and programs in the state
Dr. Patrick Carr – Dr. Carr is the station agronomist at the Dickinson Research Extension Center. His research responsibilities include development of organic and conventional cropping systems at the Center and at off-station locations. His current research interests include cover crop management in both organic and conventional systems. One cover crops experiment is a matrix study designed to evaluate effects of cover crop species individually and in mixtures for ND cropping systems in southwestern North Dakota. The matrix study is a collaborative effort with USDA-ARS scientists at the Northern Great Plains Research Center in Mandan, ND. Dr. Carr is an adjunct professor of sustainable agriculture in both the Department of Plant Sciences at North Dakota State University, and in the Department of Agriculture and Technical Studies at Dickinson Sate University. He is a past member of the administrative council of NCR-SARE.
Dr. Don Tanaka – Dr. Don Tanaka is a Research Soil Scientist at the USDA-ARS Northern Great Plain Research Laboratory, Mandan, ND. He has pioneered no-till crop sequence research to take advantage of soil/crop ecology interactions, and in doing so, contributed to a significant evolution in cropping system research where production synergies lead to increased crop production, lower input requirements, and an enhanced natural resource base. Dr. Tanaka is currently implementing a cover crop matrix study to evaluate the effects of cover crop species individually and in combinations for ND cropping systems.
North Dakota State University
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