Oct 2, 2018
Soil management not only impacts crop yields, but also has a huge impact on the environment. For organic farmers, soil balancing has become a widely used method for soil management. Soil balancing is done by managing base cation saturation ratios, which can be an overwhelming concept to understand. As such, our multidisciplinary team at Ohio State University is offering several opportunities for people to participate in phone-in events designed to provide conversations about the basis and practice of soil balancing. Researchers will be on hand to provide input and answer questions but the main focus will be to hear from callers and learn from their experiences. The phone-in conversations are a three-part series beginning this month. Click on the heading to view more information.
Sep 26, 2018
In a recent article for the C.O.R.N. Newsletter, Steve Culman reviews the evaluation reports from NutrientStar for Adapt-N and FieldView, tools to provide farmers with customized corn nitrogen (N) fertilization rates. The article provides a summary of their findings and also provides additional information on an alternative approach to determine corn N fertilization rates. To view the full article, click here.
Sep 6, 2018
For farmers considering the addition of wheat to their crop rotation, it's time to figure out management strategies as soybean harvest is fast approaching. Laura Lindsey, Pierce Paul, Ed Lentz, and the CCA have written an excellent article for the C.O.R.N. newsletter on wheat management. The article provides a link to the Ohio Agronomy Guide on winter wheat management and goes over some key management decisions impacting how successful your wheat crop will be. You can access the article here.
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