Degree Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2012

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Agronomy

First Advisor

Mary H. Wiedenhoeft

Second Advisor

Lisa A. Schulte Moore

Abstract

The landscape of Iowa is dominated by monoculture production of corn (Zea mays) and soybean (Glycine max). In order to diversify the landscape and increase ecosystem services while maintaining a productive landscape, this thesis considered two strategies for incorporating and using reconstructed prairie in Iowa agriculture. The first strategy considered was the use of reconstructed prairie buffer strips in soybean fields to attract aphidophagous predators to increase diversity and assist in the control of soybean aphid (Aphis glycines). While prairie buffer strips were effective at increasing aphidophagous predator abundance, this did not translate into an increase in biological control of soybean aphids. The second strategy considered the use of reconstructed prairie as a source of forage for grazing operations, to balance production and conservation needs. This topic was studied as a case study at Whiterock Conservancy in Coon Rapids, Iowa. The reconstructed prairies studied provided some but not all of the nutritional requirements of cattle during the grazing season. An economic analysis found that grazing reconstructed prairies was more profitable than purchasing low-quality hay. The majority of grazing systems in Iowa are focused on non-native cool season grasses, however a handful of graziers and land managers include native-plant-based grazing systems in their operation. Based on interviews of graziers and land managers, we found there are multiple economically and ecologically viable options for incorporating native plants into grazing systems.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.31274/etd-180810-598

Copyright Owner

Rachael Ann Cox Ohde

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

File Size

131 pages

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