Narrative Agronomic Field Log

Data in the KBS LTER core database may not be published without written permission of the lead investigator or project director Full terms of use

This log details agronomic activity on the LTER site. The related tables include views of the agronomic log that might be useful to answer more specific question.

A browsable interface of the aglog is available at

Annual Ag Reports are available for the years 2011 2012

This datatable is part of the Main Cropping System Experiment Field Logs and treatment descriptions dataset. This dataset includes information about the LTER main site treatments, agronomic practices carried out on the treatments and approved site use requests.

Most long-term hypotheses associated with the KBS LTER site are being tested within the context of the main cropping systems study. This study was established on a 48 ha area on which a series of 7 different cropping systems were established in spring 1988, each replicated in one of 6 ha blocks. An eighth never-tilled successional treatment, is located 200 m off-site, replicated as four 0.06 ha plots.

Cropping systems include the following treatments:

  • T1. Conventional: standard chemical input corn/soybean/wheat rotation conventionally tilled (corn/soybean prior to 1992)
  • T2. No-till: standard chemical input corn/soybean/wheat rotation no-tilled (corn/soybean prior to 1992)
  • T3. Reduced input: low chemical input corn/soybean/wheat rotation conventionally tilled (ridge till prior to 1994)
  • T4. Biologically based: zero chemical input corn/soybean wheat rotation conventionally tilled (ridge till prior to 1994)
  • T5. Poplar: Populus clones on short-rotation (6-7 year) harvest cycle
  • T6. Alfalfa: continuous alfalfa, replanted every 6-7 years (converted to switchgrass in 2018)
  • T7. Early successional community: historically tilled soil
  • T8. Mown grassland community: never-tilled soil.

For specific crops in a given year see the Annual Crops Summary Table.

In 1993 a series of forest sites were added to the main cropping system study to provide long-term reference points and to allow hypotheses related to substrate diversity to be tested. These include:

  • TCF. Coniferous forest: three conifer plantations, 40-60 years old
  • TDF. Decidious forest: three deciduous forest stands, two old-growth and one 40-60 years post-cutting
  • TSF. Mid-successional forest: three old-field (mid-successional) sites 40+ years post-abandonment.

All share a soil series with the main cropping system treatments, and are within 5 km of all other sites.

For each system (and for a number of microplot treatments nested within the main treatment plots) the following baseline variates are being measured (described in greater detail in other data set descriptors):

  • plant characteristics, including species distributions and abundances, net aboveground productivity by functional group (crop vs. non dominant biomass, selected non dominant biomass), economic yields, tissue C and N contents, seed bank composition;
  • soil chemical and physical characteristics, including soil moisture, pH, inorganic N and P pools, total C, N, and P pools, bulk density;
  • soil biological characteristics, including microbial biomass C and N, N mineralization rates (buried bags), microbial populations, invertebrate populations; and
  • insect and pathogen dynamics, including distributions and abundances of major insect pests and predators and of Fusarium pathogens.


Experiment: Main Cropping System Experiment (MCSE)
Data available from: May 1988 to March 2020
Dataset: KBS004
Datatable ID: KBS004-001.99
Repository link:
Related Tables:
Last Updated 2020-07-10
Variate Description Units
obs date usually the date on which the observation was authored, unless otherwise noted
comment prose text representing an observation, e.g. a log entry
author author of the observation

Data Excerpt

obs_date comment author
2021-09-01 Mowed 30 x 30 Bromegrass micro plot in northwest corner of the T6 plots. Mowing was done to control weeds using the Exmark mower. Leon Thelen
2021-08-26 Harvested T6 Nitrogen & No Nitrogen switch grass micro plots in northwest corner, all replications (1.1/1.2, 2.1/,2.2, 3.1/3.2, 4.1/4.2, 5.1/5.2, 6.1/6.2). Harvested with JD 7330 tractor using the 7.5 ft wide Kemper head and Wintersteiger biomass harvester weighing system. The middle 7.5 ft of each plot was harvested. In order to get a fertilized micro plot sample at harvest, we measured 15ft passed the second microplot into the main plot and harvest with JD 7330 and kemper head. Plot weight were obtained from the on-board Mirus software by Harvest Master weighing system, by Juniper Systems. Cutting height of plant stubble was 6-8 inches. Grab samples from each rep was placed in paper bags weighed for wet weight and placed in plant dryer and reweighed to determine percent moisture for each treatment and replication. Plot lengths were measured; see attached document. Leon Thelen helped collect and weigh grab samples. Ryan Anthony
2021-08-23 Baled the switchgrass from all the T6 plots, reps: 5, 4, 2, 3, 1, and 6. Raked switchgrass prior to baling. (Kuhn rotary rake MSU Dairy) Joe Simmons
2021-08-19 Mowed (harvested) switchgrass in T6, reps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Did not mow micro-plots in the northwest corner of each rep (we will harvest the micro-plots separately). Mowed (harvested) in August to reduce the spread of marestail seed to the T6 plots and other plots too. Equipment used: JD 4995 Discbine. Joe Simmons
2021-07-27 Sprayed LTER main site T1, T2 edges at 32oz/acre round up all reps. Sprayed old micro plots in northwest corners at 44oz/acre; all reps. Sprayed CE Study CE2 reps: 112, 210, 312, & 402. Sprayed T8nt all reps. Sprayed Lysimeter field east side. Sprayed Roundup Powermax at 32 ounces/acre, Ammonium Sulfate at 3.4lbs/acre, and a small amount of de-foaming agent. Rate of spray was 20gal/acre on JD rate controller. Weather conditions at the beginning , Sunny. Weather conditions at the end 4:00pm: Did not record REI: 24 hours. Ryan Anthony
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