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MU grad student simulates 100 years of farming to measure agriculture’s impact on land and water quality

Estimating the long-term impact of agriculture on land is tricky when you don’t have much information about what a field was like before it was farmed. Some fields in Missouri started producing crops more than a century ago—long before anyone kept detailed records about the physical and chemical properties of the soil in a field.
Researchers can’t go back in time to revisit old fields in their pristine state, but a University of Missouri graduate student did perhaps the next best thing, using a detailed computer model to simulate, year-by-year, the effects of 100 years of farming on claypan soils.
This can help determine the impact of certain conservation practices on farmland’s crop yields and soil and …

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Rebuilding flood plains, agriculture, economy

Using a flood simulator, MU researchers reveal cottonwood trees as a profitable crop in devastated flood areas
When the Missouri River flooded in 1993 and 1995, it left a deep layer of sandy silt that covered thousands of acres of rich farmland. Now, MU forestry researchers may have found a crop that can survive a flood and act as a sustainable source of biomass.
During the 1993 flood, Gene Garrett, forestry professor and former director of the Center for Agroforestry, observed that cottonwood trees seemed to thrive in the flood waters. As a result, Garrett, John Dwyer and Hank Stelzer, associate professors in forestry, initiated a study at the flood laboratory at the University of Missouri Horticulture …

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