Soil Health and Water Quality
Title: Investigating the double-impact of soil health promoting practices on water quality
Time Period: 2019-2021
Research Team: Marshall D. McDaniel, Morgan P. Davis, Wendong Zhang, and John E. Sawyer
Project Description: A common assumption is that soil health promoting practices also reduce nitrate leaching and improve farm profits – but little evidence exists to back this up. That is until two recent, independent studies both showed that soil CO2 Burst, a soil health indicator and measure of microbial activity, negatively correlated with fertilizer nitrogen needed to achieve optimal corn yield. However, the link between the soil CO2 Burst and corn nitrogen needs remain highly variable, and the ability of management practices to increase CO2 Burst is largely unknown. This study will investigate this ‘Double Impact’ of soil health promoting practices – that is their ability to reduce nitrogen leaching AND increase soil nitrogen supply to crops.
Funders: Iowa Nutrient Research Center
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