1. Culman Lab publishes another article!

    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.

  2. New Publication Alert!

    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.

  3. Steve Culman receives New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award

    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.

  4. The Soil Fertility Lab is growing!

    Oct 26, 2017

    We are excited to announce the addition of a new post-doc to our lab. Dr. Christine Sprunger will be joining us in January after finishing her National Science Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Columbia University where she is working to identify mechanisms that increase soil carbon storage for improved soil health and crop productivity in small-holder farming systems in Kenya and Tanzania. Her work with our lab will assess how crop rotational diversity in Ohio contributes to ecosystem services such as soil carbon sequestration and water quality. She will explore the relationship between cover crop rhizosphere processes and nutrient cycling and will also investigate crop productivity, soil health testing, soil organic matter fractionation, and nitrogen and phosphorus retention. Christine holds a Ph.D. in Crop and Soil Sciences and Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior from Michigan State University. She received a B.S in Forest Resources and a B.A. in Program on the Environment from the University of Washington with a minor in Human Rights. We are thrilled to have her join our team and cannot wait for her to begin her research with us!  


  5. Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management in Hops

    Sep 25, 2017

    The Soil Fertility Lab is looking for your input! We are interested in studying soil fertility and nutrient management in Midwest hop production but first need to determine from growers if there is a need and a strong interest in it. We are asking growers to take a brief survey regarding hop production (what varieties you grow, fertilizer regime, and soil testing) that should take no more than ten minutes to complete. There will also be an opportunity to provide contact information if you are interested in participating in a future study and learning more about soil fertility on your farm. 

    You can access the survey here:

  6. Looking for cooperators for study on pipeline effects

    Aug 29, 2017

    Are you a farmer who has had pipeline installed through your property? Are you wondering how the installation will effect your crop productivity? Concerned with compaction, mixing of top and subsoils, and other impacts installation has had on your soils? We are looking for cooperators to participate in a study we will be conducting beginning in 2018 that will examine all these issues. If you are interested in having your farm evaluated for effects of pipeline installation to crop productivity, please enroll here: For more information on our project, please visit the pipeline project page on our website.

  7. Soil Fertility Lab Publishes Paper on Soil Balancing

    Jul 24, 2017

    Vijay Chaganti and Steve Culman have published a review paper on soil balancing presenting a holistic overview of the topic, a literature review on basic cation saturation ratio (BCSR), and identifying knowledge gaps and research needs. To learn more about their research, click here. View the paper here: Historical Perspective of Soil Balancing Theory and Identifying Knowledge Gaps: A Review

  8. Meet the New Crew

    Jul 20, 2017

    With field season in full swing we figured it was time to introduce the amazing interns we have helping in our lab this summer. Our interns come from both the ORIP and SROP OSU programs as well as regular hires who will remain with us into the academic year. Read the full news story to learn more about our interns and the projects they are working on. 

    Top row: Madison Campbell, Meredith Mann

    Bottom row: Otto José Oppenheimer, Samantha Wander, Nakian Kim  

  9. Soil Fertility Lab Members Featured in Organic Farming Research Foundation article

    Jul 13, 2017

    The Organic Farming and Research Foundation featured Soil Fertility Lab members Steve Culman, Tunsisa Harisso, and Anthony Fulford in an article about their project, Evaluating Soil Protein as a New Soil Health Indicator. They are working to develop a soil test that can predict organic nutrient release and help decrease environmental risks and adoption barriers. They anticipate the test being able to predict crop nutrient availability and that the information can be used by farmers to employ best nutrient management practices improving productivity.

  10. The Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series starts this month

    Jun 5, 2017

    This annual series of public tours features 33 organic and ecological farms and businesses in Ohio engaging participants with opportunities to learn about sustainable agriculture and local foods on the farm from growers and producers with years of experience. The series also includes educational workshops and four special events.

    All events are free and open to the public! The series runs from June to November.

    To see the complete listing of events with detailed descriptions, click here.