Standardized research protocols enable transdisciplinary research of climate variation impacts in corn production systems

E. J. Kladivko, M. J. Helmers, L. J. Abendroth, D. Herzmann, R. Lal, M. J. Castellano, D. S. Mueller, J. E. Sawyer, R. P. Anex, R. W. Arritt, B. Basso, J. V. Bonta, L. C. Bowling, R. M. Cruse, N. R. Fausey, J. R. Frankenberger, P. W. Gassman, A. J. Gassmann, C. L. Kling, A. KravchenkoJ. G. Lauer, F. E. Miguez, E. D. Nafziger, N. Nkongolo, M. O'Neal, L. B. Owens, P. R. Oewens, Peter Scharf, M. J. Shipitalo, J. S. Strock, M. B. Villamil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The important questions about agriculture, climate, and sustainability have become increasingly complex and require a coordinated, multifaceted approach for developing new knowledge and understanding. A multistate, transdisciplinary project was begun in 2011 to study the potential for both mitigation and adaptation of corn-based cropping systems to climate variations.The team is measuring the baseline as well as change of the system's carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and water footprints, crop productivity, and pest pressure in response to existing and novel production practices. Nine states and 11 institutions are participating in the project, necessitating a well thought out approach to coordinating field data collection procedures at 35 research sites. In addition, the collected data must be brought together in a way that can be stored and used by persons not originally involved in the data collection, necessitating robust procedures for linking metadata with the data and clearly delineated rules for use and publication of data from the overall project. In order to improve the ability to compare data across sites and begin to make inferences about soil and cropping system responses to climate across the region, detailed research protocols were developed to standardize the types of measurements taken and the specific details such as depth, time, method, numbers of samples, and minimum data set required from each site. This process required significant time, debate, and commitment of all the investigators involved with field data collection and was also informed by the data needed to run the simulation models and life cycle analyses. Although individual research teams are collecting additional measurements beyond those stated in the standardized protocols, the written protocols are used by the team for the base measurements to be compared across the region. A centralized database was constructed to meet the needs of current researchers on this project as well as for future use for data synthesis and modeling for agricultural, ecosystem, and climate sciences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)532-542
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Soil and Water Conservation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 soil and Water Conservation System.


  • Climate
  • Corn systems
  • Database
  • Research methods
  • Soil measurements.


Dive into the research topics of 'Standardized research protocols enable transdisciplinary research of climate variation impacts in corn production systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this