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MS Thesis Defense - Andrew Laws

Multi-Criteria Evaluation Model for Classifying Marginal Cropland In Nebraska Using Historical Crop Yield and Biophysical Characteristics

Date: Time: 9:00 am–10:00 am
Hardin Hall Room: 901 South
Additional Info: HARH
Contact: Yi Qi,
Marginal cropland is cropland that is suboptimal due to historically low and variable productivity and limiting biophysical characteristics. To support future agricultural management and policy decisions in Nebraska, it is important to understand where cropland is marginal for its two most economically important crops: corn (Zea mays) and soybean (Glycine max). A multi-criteria evaluation model was conducted using Google Earth Engine to identify and classify marginal cropland in Nebraska. Eight criteria, including crop yield, slope, climate and soils criteria, were individually thresholded then aggregated to create crop-specific marginal classifications. A new method for classifying long-term crop rotations was devised to examine differences in marginality classification between rotation classes. The results show statewide spatial trends in, as well as the net positive benefits of crop rotation on, marginality classification. The identification of marginal land will also provide evidence to facilitate discussion on biofuels production using perennial biomass crops, targeted land for conservation practices and solar energy capture, both of which have potential to be integrated into current cropping systems. Future work will involve connecting the results of this study with researchers and outreach professionals to aid in ensuring the long-term viability of agriculture in Nebraska.

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This event originated in School of Natural Resources.