GLBRC SCALE-UP EXPERIMENT

GLBRC Scaleup FieldsThe GLBRC Scale-up Experiment was established in 2009 at the Marshall Farm and Lux Arbor Reserve of KBS to provide a field-scale context for addressing biodiversity and biogeochemistry questions associated with biofuel production and land use change. The four fields at Marshall Farm were in the USDA Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) from 1987-2008; three were planted to biofuel crops in 2010, after a conversion without tillage to soybean in 2009, and one remained as CRP brome grass to serve as a reference field. The three fields at Lux Arbor were managed in a tilled corn-soybean-wheat rotation (AGR) before establishment of no-till biofuel crops. Aerial photographs indicate that, prior to 1987, all seven scale-up fields had been farmed in hay and row crops since at least 1938 and that during the 1950’s Marshall fields had some animal grazing.

Each site has individual fields of no-till continuous corn, switchgrass, and restored prairie, managed as for corresponding treatments of the GLBRC Biofuel Cropping System Experiment. Each of the seven fields has a CO2 flux tower that measures the flux of CO2 into and out of the canopy/soil and allows for development of a complete carbon budget based on rates of carbon sequestration and loss from these different systems.

Tilled microplots, established in 2009 and 2010 in crop fields at the Marshall Farm site, examine the greenhouse gas costs of tillage on conversion of CRP grassland to biofuel cropping systems. The 2009 microplots were chisel plowed prior to the conversion of grassland to soybean; the 2010 microplots were chisel plowed prior to establishment of biofuel cropping systems. Tillage in the CRP-Corn microplots (only) occurs every spring.  

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