soil research News

  • Writing an equation for soil success

    Soil isn’t one size fits all. It may look the same under your feet – but under a microscope, that’s a different story. A plant’s roots, tiny bugs – these things can tell one soil from another quite easily. Soil scientists typically measure different aspects of soil — how much air it contains, how well it retains water, heat, and more — to ...


    By American Society of Agronomy

  • Cement develops an appetite for C02

    Three new studies illuminate the sheer complexity of the aspect of climate science known as the carbon cycle − how carbon dioxide gets into the atmosphere and out again. Sometimes, human agency is at work, but nature takes care of it anyway – as one of the studies reveals in the case of cement, the world’s most widely-used building material. Zhu Liu, postdoctoral scholar at ...


    By Climate News Network

  • Identifying future soil science research needs

    Soil is subjected to a growing number of human-caused dangers from contamination, urbanization, desertification, salinization, mismanagement, and erosion. The soil ecosystem provides services necessary to manage and maintain a healthy and stable planet. Soil is key to carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling, water purification, and waste treatment. The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) has ...

  • Research to restore the fertility of earth`s soils

    In keynote addresses at the FAO Workshop on Sustainable Agriculture in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on April 28 and April 29, 2009, soil fertility experts from the Nutrition Security Institute, (NSI) a non-profit organization located in Bellevue, Washington, presented advances and understandings in biotic soil fertility as a proven solution to the serious problems facing global agriculture. Their dual ...

  • Copper-zinc interactions increase toxicity in soils, say researchers

    Agricultural soils accumulate trace metals, particularly copper and zinc, as a result of their presence in wastes (sewage biosolids and manures) and fungicides that are applied over long periods of time. Regulations and guidelines for tolerable concentrations of these potentially plant-toxic elements in soils are based on the assumption that the toxic effects of the metals are substantially ...

  • Researchers study how soil breathes to understand carbon-cycling

    Soil respiration (SR) plays a major role in moving carbon from the ecosystem to the atmosphere. Converting land for agricultural use accelerates CO2 emissions via SR. Planting trees (afforestation) has been heralded as a potential climate change mitigation approach. However, new research suggests that the effects of agricultural practices on peatland remain for decades and can continue to ...

  • Healthy soils for a healthy planet

    Healthy soils are vital in a world challenged by climate change. We need to decide how best to use land to provide food for a growing population and how it can be used to mitigate the effects of manmade emissions. The quality of soil must be maintained or restored if it is to provide its essential services: cycling nutrients, water and air, supporting biodiversity and acting as a substantial ...

  • Impacts of tillage on soil and crops

    The increasing popularity of reduced tillage on crops has not only been an important development in combating soil erosion, but it has also been associated with increasing organic material and producing high crop yields. For peanut crops, however, reduced tillage has not gained a large acceptance as a viable practice, as findings of inconsistent yields have not encouraged farmers to make a switch ...


    By American Society of Agronomy

  • Challenges in soil and water conservation

    Productive soils and clean water are essential elements for economic and social prosperity and environmental sustainability. Throughout history, civilizations have thrived or collapsed based on the availability of these vital resources. The lack of arable land and evidence of soil degradation have been identified as causes for the fall of many ancient civilizations, such as those in Mesopotamia, ...

  • Role of earthworms in soil explored

    The right earthworms can make home septic systems work better. The wrong ones could do the opposite. That’s the finding in a study of worm populations living in the soil near trenches receiving septic tank flow outside five single family homes in Arkansas. Carrie L. Hawkins of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville performed the study in collaboration with Agricultural Research Service (ARS) ...

  • Measuring calcium in serpentine soils

    Serpentine soils contain highly variable amounts of calcium, making them marginal lands for farming. Successful management of serpentine soils requires accurate measurement of the calcium they hold. Research published this month in the Soil Science Society of America Journal shows that multiple measurement techniques are needed to accurately measure calcium content in serpentine soils. To make ...

  • Keeping a pulse on the soil

    Leaving behind stubble is not ideal when shaving, but it’s a good practice to leave behind crop “stubble” after harvest. According to soil scientist Frank Larney, crop residue anchors the soil against wind and water erosion. Avoiding bare soils is one part of a soil conservation package he and his research team demonstrate in a 12-year experiment growing pulses in southern ...

  • Key to Life in the Desert: What New Research Reveals about the Importance of Soil Crusts

    Biological soil crust organisms found to play an active role in the development of soil structures and the allocation of water and nutrients Thursday, July 19, 2012 - Deserts creep outward in various directions across the western United States. The dry wind shuttles clouds of sand across the landscape, leading the charge to take over surrounding land, advancing the growing desertification ...

  • Research and development round table

    Public and private research and development collaborations in agriculture, food, nutrition and natural resources are an important tool for meeting the challenge of feeding future generations. Key elements of successful collaborations between federal agencies and partner organizations are the focus of the Agriculture, Food, Nutrition and Natural Resources R&D Round Table, to take place ...

  • Critical Issues in Global Soil Health

    Soil health is rarely equated into discussions of climate change, environmental protection, and sustainable development. However, soils play such a vital role in the planet’s survival that life cannot exist without them. They provide the basis for food and fiber production; support a diversity of plant, animal, and microbial life; and regulate nutrient cycles and gas exchange with ...

  • Nitrogen fertilizers` impact on lawn soils

    Nitrogen fertilizers from farm fields often end up in aquatic ecosystems, resulting in water quality problems, such as toxic algae and underwater ‘dead zones’. There are concerns that fertilizers used on lawns may also contribute to these problems. All of the lawns in the United States cover an area almost as large as Florida, making turfgrass our largest ‘crop’ and lawn ...

  • Improving Soil for Better Lawns and Gardens

    U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists in West Virginia are finding ways to improve soil on degraded land so it can be used for sports fields and other uses. Researchers with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) at the agency's Appalachian Farming Systems Research Center (AFSRC) in Beaver, W.Va., are developing constructed or replacement subsoils and topsoils to build better and ...

  • Soil phosphorus in an organic cropping system

    Phosphorus is a nonrenewable resource, raising concerns that agricultural practices may deplete reserves. (For one overview discussion of phosphorus, see Phosphorus Famine: The Threat to Our Food Supply in the June 2009 Scientific American.) Organic farming with low phosphorus  inputs can result in deficient levels of plant-available phosphorus (available-P).A group of researchers from ...


    By American Society of Agronomy

  • New - SM300 moisture sensor - soil moisture content + soil temperature

    The new SM300 is a precision sensor that measures volumetric water content and soil temperature. It can be used in all soil types and is suited to applications in research, horticulture, agriculture and irrigation. Research grade accuracy ± 2.5% (%vol) Excellent performance in mineral, organic and saline soils Easy to use The SM300 has strong measurement rods that minimise soil ...


    By Delta-T Devices Ltd.

  • Controlled ‘reset’ for nematode-infested soil

    Harmful nematodes that damage the soil can be controlled by creating an environment in which they are temporarily deprived of oxygen. Covering the soil with plastic film or a layer of water encourages anaerobic bacteria to produce fatty acids, which will kill most nematodes. “It does sometimes take a while,” says Leendert Molendijk, soil expert at Wageningen UR. Molendijk and his ...

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