Aug 9, 2018
Join us for the Ohio No-till Field Day in August! We'll be sharing what we've learned so far from our studies in no-till. Established in 1962, the Triplett Van Doren no-till research plots are the longest running research plots of their nature. Glover Triplett will be on hand to share his experiences working with David Van Doren and their establishment of the plots. The day will include presentations from several other key no-till pioneers, lunch, and a visit to the no-till plots. To get more details on the event, and to find out how to register, click here
Jul 27, 2018
The Soil Fertility Lab is excited to announce that it was awarded two North Central Region SARE grants!
PhD candidate, Jordon Wade was awarded a graduate student research grant to study how soil health is conceptualized amongst key stakeholders in agricultural soil sciences. Soil health is a widely-discussed topic in production agriculture and policymaking. Although formal definitions have been proposed, few studies have looked at how stakeholders within the agricultural production system conceptualize this topic. This study will work to define mental models amongst farmers, researchers, and NRCS employees in order to improve communication amongst these groups. This project will involve collaboration with SENR graduate student Margaret Beetstra, as well as professors Robyn Wilson and Eric Toman.
A research grant was awarded to the team of Nicole Hoekstra, Steve Culman, and Brad Bergerfurd for their proposal submission, "Assessing Soil Fertility and Soil Health in Midwest Hop Production". Their study will be on-farm working closely with hop growers and will evaluate their current fertilization regimens for their efficacy in optimizing hop yields and cone quality. This will be a multi-state assessment with an overall goal of developing fertilization recommendations for hop production in the Midwest.
Congratulations to both research teams for a job well done!
Jul 16, 2018
The Association of Ohio Pedologists will be hosting a soil health workshop on Tuesday, August 7th featuring presentations from members of the Soil Fertility Lab. The workshop will cover soil health concepts, quantitative measurements, and recent developments in soil health measurements. As part of the workshop, participants will visit a soil pit to view the soil profile of a recently completed Rover Energy Pipeline Right-of-Way. We will wrap up the day at the Soil Fertility Lab conducting hands-on demonstrations utilizing these soils.
Interested in joining us? Click here for all the details!
Jul 5, 2018
Undergraduate Madison Campbell recently published an article for the Agronomic Crops Network summarizing some of her work in the Soil Fertility Lab investigating nutrient uptake by corn and soybean tissues. Her article focuses on R1 tissue sampling (sampling when crops enter their reproductive phase) and whether timing of sampling impacts test results. To read the full article, click here.
May 30, 2018
Increased interest in practical, routine evaluation of soil health has created a need for rapid and inexpensive indicators that reflect soil nitrogen (N) status. We have been working on a soil protein measurement as an indicator of a functionally relevant and sensitive pool of organic N that can be rapidly quantified. The procedure is based on a method that was historically used to measure “glomalin,” a pool putatively of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal origin. We have validated that the procedure extracts proteins from a wide range of sources and propose that the pool of proteins extracted by this method can be viewed more broadly as a soil health indicator that reflects the primary pool of organically bound N in soil and thus as potentially available organic N. Included with our publication is our laboratory protocol. To access the full article, click here.
May 21, 2018
The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences hosted their annual research conference on April 27th. The conference featured a morning of presentations and panel discussions focused on the theme: “Meeting the Water Quality Challenge: Collaborative and Interdisciplinary Science to Improve Water Quality in Ohio”. The full list of presentations, available for viewing, can be found here. Included in the conference is a poster session featuring research conducted by graduate students (separated into Master's and PhD categories), post-doctoral researchers, and research assistants and associates (Research Staff). Posters were evaluated by three reviewers and results tallied for the poster competition awarding monetary prizes to the top three presenters in each category.
The Soil Fertility Lab presented three posters:
Jordon Wade (PhD category): Phosphorus restriction improves soil health and functioning across three long-term sites in Ohio
Stuti Sharma (2nd place in the Research Staff category): History of Corn, Soybean and Alfalfa Yield Responses to Micronutrient Fertilization in Ohio
Nicole Hoekstra (3rd place in the Research Staff category): Soil Health and Nutrient Management for Optimizing Quality and Yield of Processing Tomatoes
The full list of awardees can be found here.
May 17, 2018
Authors: Stuti Sharma, Steve Culman, Anthony Fulford, Laura Lindsey, Douglas Alt, and Grace Looker
Micronutrients play important roles in plant growth and development, as such, farmers have long sought after information regarding the efficacy of micronutrient fertilization to increase crop yields. To answer this, we compiled 40 years of data from the Ohio State University consisting of micronutrient fertilizer trials in three crops: corn, soybean, and alfalfa. The results was a database with a total of 194 trials, randomized and replicated, across 17 Ohio counties. From these studies, it was found that micronutrient fertilization rarely produced a significant yield response. Of the micronutrients (boron, chlorine, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, zinc, and nickel), manganese or a blend of manganese with other micronutrients increased soybean yield (9 out of 144 trials), boron had no effect on corn grain yield (8 out of 9 trials), and micronutrient fertilization affected alfalfa yields in 17 trials.
These results are not uncommon as there is a large degree of uncertainty concerning micronutrient fertilization needs of crops as soil test critical levels are difficult to develop. Therefore, seeing a yield response to micronutrient fertilization is much more common in situations of known or suspected deficiencies. If you decide to apply micronutrient fertilizers, we suggest leaving an unfertilized strip as a check or control measure. You can then compare your fertilized versus unfertilized yields to determine if the fertilization was effective in increasing yield and whether it provided an economic benefit.
The results of our study can be found on ohioline here
Feb 22, 2018
We are thrilled to share the publication of a paper authored by Jordon Wade, which included additional lab members Tunsisa Hurisso and Steve Culman as coauthors, in the Soil Science Society of America Journal. Their paper, Sources of Variability that Compromise Mineralizable Carbon as a Soil Health Indicator, is summarized below:
Accounting for soil biology is a central concept in soil health. However, measuring soil biology can be costly and difficult to translate into management recommendations. Mineralizable carbon (or respiration upon rewetting) has the potential to address both of these issues and has quickly gained in popularity with growers and extension agents alike. However, some have found the metric to be unreliable or inconsistent. This recent study examined several methodological issues with the metric and found that they can greatly impact the final results. For example, rewetting the soil via capillary action from below gave lower mineralizable C values than rewetting from above. Mineralizable C was also shown to be less reliable from lab-to-lab than other traditional soil metrics like pH or soil carbon. Additionally, variation between replicates run in a lab was largely soil-specific, suggesting that the metric is more reliable for some soils than others. This uncertainty associated with the metric should be communicated when using this tool as a soil health indicator.
Jan 8, 2018
Congratulations to Anthony Fulford whose paper with co-author Steve Culman has been published. Their work investigated yield response in corn and soybean to phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) fertilization as well as comparing soil versus leaf tissue testing of P and K to accurately reflect corn and soybean response to fertilization. They tested three rates: control (0x), estimated nutrient removal rate (1x), and twice the estimated nutrient removal rate (2x) in corn-soybean rotation plots at three sites over 9 years. Results of their study can be read here.
Dec 6, 2017
We are excited to announce that Dr. Steve Culman has been awarded a 2017 New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. Innovator awards are provided to early career scientists to help launch their careers in food and agriculture. This award allows recipients the freedom to pursue innovative and transformational research ideas that might not be possible with a traditional research grant. Steve's work will focus on using active organic matter testing to help predict crop nutrient needs. You can learn more about his research project by clicking here.