agriculture soil sampling service News

  • Soil scientists in Afghanistan

    As part of USDA’s effort to support the Afghanistan military campaign, Operation Enduring Freedom, the Natural Resources Conservation Service–National Soil Survey Laboratory (NRCS-NSSL), working in partnership with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) developed an agreement to sample soils; teach local nationals about soil and water conservation, soil sampling, and techniques for ...


    By American Society of Agronomy

  • USDA loans designated soil to Smithsonian Institution for `Dig It!` exhibition

    Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer today announced that USDA has loaned 54 designated state and territory soil samples to the Smithsonian Institution for a new soils exhibition that opens July 19 at the National Museum of Natural History, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W. The 5,000-square foot exhibition is called 'Dig It! The Secrets of Soil.' In addition to the soil samples, 'Dig It!' ...

  • Vegetable Workshop Series Offers Insight into Alternative Crops, Soil Health

    Growing hops and barley crops is an increasingly popular way to generate additional income from the farm. But before growers decide to devote some acreage to these new crops, they need to understand the costs and labor involved in growing them. Allen Gahler, an Ohio State University Extension educator in Sandusky County, said that while there is a strong and growing market for hops and barley in ...


    By Ohio State University

  • Study by ARS microbiologist in Texas shows farming practices’ benefits to soil quality

    The first evaluation of alternative farming practices—based on changes in soil microbes—in the Texas High Plains has been done by an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist. Soil microbiologist Veronica Acosta-Martinez has also done a similar analysis for land in USDA's Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), a first nationally. Changes in microbes can give a relatively early indication as to ...

  • Increasing diversity through crop rotation boosts soil microbial biodiversity and productivity

    Planting a variety of crop species in rotation in agricultural fields increases the diversity of soil microbes below ground, recent research has found. This in turn positively affects soil organic matter, soil structure and aids the healthy functioning of the soil. The researchers say that rotational diversity can help farmers to grow crops in a more sustainable way that promotes soil stability. ...

  • Understanding why rye works as a cover crop

    Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists may soon find a way to enhance the weed-killing capabilities of a cereal grain that enriches the soil when used as a winter cover crop. Rye is often grown in winter and killed in the spring, so the dead stalks can be flattened over soybean and vegetable fields to block sunlight and prevent spring weeds from getting the light they need to germinate. ...

  • Increasing potato production

    Despite sophisticated nutrient management of potato crops, quality and yield still see wide variability. Although nutrients are already well understood, the influence of other environmental factors remains understudied. A research team from Michigan State University conducted a study to determine how the chemical and physical properties of soil, along with the light waves the plant absorbs and ...

  • Identifying factors in Atrazine’s reduced weed control

    Invasive broadleaf weeds can destroy corn crops and fallow fields. Farmers use the chemical atrazine in herbicides to protect their plants. Despite atrazine’s controversial environmental impacts, it can provide long term residual control of many weed species. However, the loss of atrazine’s effectiveness has been a challenge for farmers in northeastern Colorado. In a collaborative ...

  • Nutrient Management Plans: A Study in Cause and Effect

    It seems practical on the surface. Nutrient management plans (NMPs) should supply plants with ideal amounts of nutrients, minimize runoff, and maintain or even improve the soil condition. And the farmer behind the plan would work with a set of conservation practices designed to reduce harmful pollutants while still obtaining optimal crop yields. However, many U.S. Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs) ...

  • Forest fires help power the nitrogen cycle

    When fire burns down a forest, nitrate levels go up, and the effects are persistent, according to recent research from University of Montana scientists. They found that charcoal deposited during fire events has the potential to stimulate the conversion of ammonia to nitrates, an important step in the nitrogen cycle. Led by Patrick Ball, the research team found that a type of bacteria that ...

  • Straw residue helps keep nitrogen on the farm

    Scientists are exploring ways to reduce non-point pollution from agriculture. A new study finds that using straw residue in conjunction with legume cover crops reduces leaching of nitrogen into waterways, but may lower economic return. Agriculture is the largest source of nitrogen non-point pollution to waterways in the United States, flowing into streams and rivers via erosion from farmlands, or ...

  • The realm of earthworms: NASA gets down to the nitty-gritty

    When you hear the word 'NASA,' do visions of rocket ships dance in your head? Well think again. From now on, it's 'earthworms.' That's right. Using space technology, NASA is now studying the realm of earthworms, millipedes, and springtails -- the soil beneath your feet -- with a project called OMEGA (Observing Microwave Emissions for Geophysical Applications). Why would an agency whose cosmic ...

  • Pakistan needs a new crop forecasting system

    Pakistan's outdated crop yield forecasting system needs a revamp, says Ibrar ul Hassan Akhtar. Like most developing countries, Pakistan is staring at the spectre of food insecurity, with its food production out of sync with population growth. The food availability scenario is further ...


    By SciDev.Net

  • Expansion of greenhouse horticulture in Spain seen to compromise conservation and the revitalisation of rural areas

    Land-use changes in the arid south-eastern Iberian Peninsula impact on the supply of various ecosystem services that support human well-being. Research into perceptions of the rapid expansion of greenhouse horticulture and the abandonment of rural and mountainous areas has highlighted trade-offs between conservation efforts and economic development. This study aimed to examine the perceptions ...

  • SST Software Updates Sirrus® App With Planting and Crop Protection

    The farming industry will find it easier this season to execute better management decisions while in the field. Sirrus, the precision agriculture app by SST Software, now allows users to record and share tillage, planting, fertilizer, and crop protection operations. Last season, Sirrus was used by thousands of crop consultants and ag service providers to collect field boundaries, record soil ...

  • Switch to organic farming may boost yields and incomes

    Switching to organic and resource-conserving methods of farming can improve smallholder crop yields, food security and income, a review study has found. But a more-extensive evidence base founded on rigorous and consistent ...


    By SciDev.Net

  • FarmMaps (Akkerweb) launched

    Fields used by growers contain a treasure trove of data. These data are registered and recorded for use by various (trade) partners, but rarely used actively by growers themselves. This was the idea behind the launch of Farm Maps on 12 February: to establish an independent and open platform on which companies can share data and applications that allow growers to obtain added value from their data ...

  • Promising solution to runoff issues ahead

    At Thanksgiving, many Americans look forward to eating roast turkey, pumpkin pie, and tangy red cranberries. To feed that appetite, cranberry farming is big business. In Massachusetts, cranberries are the most valuable food crop. The commonwealth’s growers provide one-fourth of the U.S. cranberry supply. Water plays a big role in cranberry farming. At harvest time, cranberry growers ...


    By American Society of Agronomy

  • Grazing management effects on stream pollutants

    Surface water quality is important for the proper function of aquatic ecosystems, as well as human needs and recreation. Pasturelands have been found to be major sources of sediment, phosphorus and pathogens in Midwest surface water resources. While poor grazing management may lead to contaminated surface water, little is known about the specific amount of pollution in pasture streams that can be ...

  • Nutrient levels on the decline in many Estonian rivers

    A new study has analysed the impact of industrial and agricultural changes on nutrients in Estonian rivers. The results indicated that there were significant reductions in nitrogen in one third of the sites, significant reductions in phosphorus in a quarter of sites and significant reductions in both nutrients in nearly a tenth of sites. High levels of nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, ...

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