Interseeded Cover Crops: Evaluating Nitrogen Retention Services Provided by Plant-microbe Relationships in Agroecosystems

Speaker: Sarah Isbell, Penn State University

Date and Location

When (Date/Time)

November 15, 2017, 12:20 PM - 1:10 PM


104 Forest Resources Bldg.

Add to calendar


Ecology Grad Colloquium

Can we use ecological concepts to understand, predict, and improve how organic agricultural systems perform? Organic cropping systems that incorporate cover crops exhibit considerable ecological complexity, resulting in potential agronomic benefits and challenges. Nitrogen (N) management is a critical challenge, as nitrate leaching is not only a source of pollution affecting waterways, air quality, and biodiversity, but also represents an economic loss for farmers. Two ongoing experiments in Pennsylvania are evaluating the strategy of interseeding a cover crop into a standing corn crop. This approach increases the ecological complexity of the system by using nutrient and light competition and partitioning to reduce weeds and leaching losses. However, it is not yet clear how this strategy will impact soil, plant, and microbial N pools. This presentation will use data collected from 2015-2017 to explore trade offs in N management between an interseeded cover cropping system and other standard practice organic corn cropping systems.