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Article

Regenerating Agricultural Landscapes with Perennial Groundcover for Intensive Crop Production

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Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
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Department of Biological Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA
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Department of Economics, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
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Department of Horticulture, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
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Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA
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Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
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USDA-Agricultural Research Service, National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, Ames, IA 50011, USA
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USDA-ARS, North Center Soil Conservation Research Laboratory, Morris, MN 56267, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 458; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080458
Received: 12 July 2019 / Revised: 7 August 2019 / Accepted: 13 August 2019 / Published: 15 August 2019
The Midwestern U.S. landscape is one of the most highly altered and intensively managed ecosystems in the country. The predominant crops grown are maize (Zea mays L.) and soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr]. They are typically grown as monocrops in a simple yearly rotation or with multiple years of maize (2 to 3) followed by a single year of soybean. This system is highly productive because the crops and management systems have been well adapted to the regional growing conditions through substantial public and private investment. Furthermore, markets and supporting infrastructure are highly developed for both crops. As maize and soybean production have intensified, a number of concerns have arisen due to the unintended environmental impacts on the ecosystem. Many areas across the Midwest are experiencing negative impacts on water quality, soil degradation, and increased flood risk due to changes in regional hydrology. The water quality impacts extend even further downstream. We propose the development of an innovative system for growing maize and soybean with perennial groundcover to recover ecosystem services historically provided naturally by predominantly perennial native plant communities. Reincorporating perennial plants into annual cropping systems has the potential of restoring ecosystem services without negatively impacting grain crop production and offers the prospect of increasing grain crop productivity through improving the biological functioning of the system. View Full-Text
Keywords: maize; soybean; perennial; groundcover; cropping system; crop breeding; crop diversity; intercropping; soil health; soil quality; ecosystem services; water quality; technology adoption; integrated pest management maize; soybean; perennial; groundcover; cropping system; crop breeding; crop diversity; intercropping; soil health; soil quality; ecosystem services; water quality; technology adoption; integrated pest management
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MDPI and ACS Style

Moore, K.J.; Anex, R.P.; Elobeid, A.E.; Fei, S.; Flora, C.B.; Goggi, A.S.; Jacobs, K.L.; Jha, P.; Kaleita, A.L.; Karlen, D.L.; Laird, D.A.; Lenssen, A.W.; Lübberstedt, T.; McDaniel, M.D.; Raman, D.R.; Weyers, S.L. Regenerating Agricultural Landscapes with Perennial Groundcover for Intensive Crop Production. Agronomy 2019, 9, 458. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080458

AMA Style

Moore KJ, Anex RP, Elobeid AE, Fei S, Flora CB, Goggi AS, Jacobs KL, Jha P, Kaleita AL, Karlen DL, Laird DA, Lenssen AW, Lübberstedt T, McDaniel MD, Raman DR, Weyers SL. Regenerating Agricultural Landscapes with Perennial Groundcover for Intensive Crop Production. Agronomy. 2019; 9(8):458. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080458

Chicago/Turabian Style

Moore, Kenneth J., Robert P. Anex, Amani E. Elobeid, Shuizhang Fei, Cornelia B. Flora, A. S. Goggi, Keri L. Jacobs, Prashant Jha, Amy L. Kaleita, Douglas L. Karlen, David A. Laird, Andrew W. Lenssen, Thomas Lübberstedt, Marshall D. McDaniel, D. R. Raman, and Sharon L. Weyers. 2019. "Regenerating Agricultural Landscapes with Perennial Groundcover for Intensive Crop Production" Agronomy 9, no. 8: 458. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080458

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