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Cultivation of soy beans, corn, and cover crops in Brazilian Amazonia, and perspectives for agroecosystem sustainability- Troy Beldini

Thursday, May 2, 2019 at 12:20pm

Emerson Hall, 135

Brazil is one of the most important agricultural producers in the world, especially with respect to soybean and corn production, and part of this success is due to a large expansion of the area planted with these crops in recent years. The area planted with soybeans in the Amazon biome of Brazil was about 4.5 million hectares in 2018, and together with the area planted with corn in the region there are nearly 8 million hectares of these crops, the majority of which are managed using no-till techniques. Across a large portion of this area the use of cover crops is either nonexistent or incipient, and their use in agricultural systems is not based on research but is instead empirical and consists of just a few species. Due to factors such as low soil fertility, high rainfall rates, and a strong dry season coupled with more frequent and severe droughts, the incorporation of a cover crop into soybean and corn rotations is a logical next step towards increased sustainability and resilience of these intensively managed no-till agroecosystems. In this context, a descriptive meta-analysis was conducted of the literature on the use of specific cover crops in agricultural systems on Oxisol soils in the Amazon and Cerrado biomes of Brazil in order to survey and synthesize the available research. Effects on above and belowground processes and different sustainability metrics were analyzed with the goal of determining the contribution of cover crops to Amazonian agroecosystem sustainability. Future research plans will also be discussed, which include the establishment of a model farm and agricultural experiment research station, continuation of ongoing experiments, and outreach and extension activities with soybean and corn farmers and cattle ranchers from the region.

Troy Beldini
Visiting Professor, SCS; CAPES, Brazil

Doctorate, Auburn University, 2004
Master of Science, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry 2000.
Bachelor of Science, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, 1991.

Research and Teaching Interests
I am a Visiting Associate Professor from Brazil. My research interests focus on tropical agroecosystems (with an emphasis on Brazilian Amazonia) and the implementation of management techniques such as integration of crops-livestock-forests in these systems in order to increase overall fertility and biodiversity and build resilience. I am currently focusing on soil health and phosphorus (P) cycling and am researching species of plants that could be used as cover crops in these systems in order to boost P cycling through soil mining processes that would make more inorganic P available near the soil surface for subsequent absorption by cash crops in large- and small-scale agroecosystems. I am also interested in teaching all aspects of conservation agriculture techniques and their application to agroecosystems to students and landowners/farmers, and also identifying the needs of farmers and the barriers they may face with respect to the adoption of conservation agriculture management in their production systems.

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Soil and Crop Sciences


CALScomm, sips, SCS




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Tara Reed

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Troy Beldini

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CAPES Brazil and SCS

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