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A multi-model approach for sustainable agriculture in the US corn belt

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  033009,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.14047) @2003
Authors:   Eduard N.J. van Ouwerkerk, David E. James, Tom L. Richard, Matt Liebman
Keywords:   crop models, soil conservation, livestock farming, sustainable agriculture, ecosystem, erosion control, simulation models, nutrients, landscape

The goal of this three-year project is to identify, promote, and assist farmers in adopting integrated crop and livestock farming systems that reduce costs, minimize negative environmental impacts, increase market opportunities and increase profits for small and mid-size family farms. The project uses a holistic systems approach that evaluates six inter-related elements: economic impact, marketing opportunities, community impact, ecosystem impact, farmer adoption, and information transfer. This paper deals with ecosystem impacts of changes in land-use, crop rotations, and farm management. A number of existing simulation models for crop growth, livestock performance, soil erosion, nitrogen dynamics, tillage and manure management, and energy consumption are being used to evaluate impacts of alternative management strategies on indicators of ecosystem sustainability. Databases on soil and weather needed for these models are clustered and interconnected by means of web-based interfaces. This paper describes the models to be integrated, initial scenarios for future land-use, our approach to defining representative farms, the current status of the web based model development, and some results.

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