Crop diversity effects on soil organic matter and nitrate retention in surface and subsoils [E2015-17]

Project Description: 

This research looks at what happens deep within the soil profile (2-3 ft. below the surface) when alfalfa is added to the typical corn-soybean rotation. They hypothesize that the extended rotation improves the soil’s ability to store carbon and organic matter at lower depths, making the soil more resilient to drought and to soil erosion and nutrient losses after heavy rainfall. Data will be collected from established research plots at the Marsden Research Farm in Boone County. 

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Lead Investigator: 
Michael Castellano
Lead Investigator Bio: 

Michael Castellano is an assistant professor in ISU Agronomy. His research focuses on biogeochemical cycling and transport within the soil as it extends to the atmosphere and subsoil. He is a member of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Taskforce and led development of a USDA-funded Midwest greenhouse gas monitoring network of corn-based cropping systems. He also is a member of an ISU task force that assists Des Moines Water Works in managing its nitrate-removal facility. He has degrees from the University of Rhode Island and Saint Louis University and a Ph.D. in soil science from Pennsylvania State University.


Co Investigators: 

Hanna Poffenbarger, Ph.D. candidate, ISU Agronomy
Matt Liebman, professor, ISU Agronomy