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Journal of Applied Remote Sensing

Changes of crop rotation in Iowa determined from the United States Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service cropland data layer product
Author(s): Alan Stern; Paul C. Doraiswamy; E. Raymond Hunt
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Paper Abstract

Crop rotation is one of the important decisions made independently by numerous farm managers, and is a critical variable in models of crop growth and soil carbon. In Iowa and much of the Midwestern United States (US), the typical management decision is to rotate corn and soybean crops for a single field; therefore, the land-cover changes each year even though the total area of agricultural land-use remains the same. The price for corn increased from 2001 to 2010, which increased corn production in Iowa. We tested the hypothesis that the production increase was the result of changes in crop rotation in Iowa using the annual remote sensing classification (the cropland data layer) produced by the United States Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service. It was found that the area planted in corn increased from 4.7 million hectares in 2001 to 5.7 million hectares in 2007, which was correlated with the market price for corn. At the county level, there were differences in how the increase in corn production was accomplished. Northern and central counties had little land to expand cultivation and generally increased corn production by converting to a corn-corn rotation from the standard corn-soybean rotation. Southern counties in Iowa increased corn production by expanding into land that was not under recent cultivation. These changes affect the amount of soil carbon sequestration.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 October 2012
PDF: 16 pages
J. Appl. Remote Sens. 6(1) 063590 doi: 10.1117/1.JRS.6.063590
Published in: Journal of Applied Remote Sensing Volume 6, Issue 1
Show Author Affiliations
Alan Stern, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (United States)
Paul C. Doraiswamy, Agricultural Research Service (United States)
E. Raymond Hunt, Agricultural Research Service (United States)


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