As Iowa agriculture places increasing emphasis on lignocellulosic biofuel production, it is important that producers adopt soil management practices that preserve and enhance soil health. This project explores the impacts of both annual and perennial feedstock production systems on soil health, and whether soil health tests will help producers to make better management decisions that promote both crop production and sustainable landscapes. This research will take place at the Comparison of Biofuel Cropping Systems (COBS) site at Iowa State University, which is designed to compare lignocellulosic biomass production and environmental impacts for continuous corn grown for grain and stover. As a result of this project, researchers will determine if well-managed biofuel cropping systems are able to maintain or enhance the health of representative Iowa soils.
Michael Thompson earned a Ph.D. in agronomy from Ohio State University and has been a faculty member in the Iowa State University Agronomy Department since 1980. His research centers on environmental applications of soil chemistry and mineralogy. He has been named a Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Soil Science Society of America and the American Society of Agronomy.
Matt Liebman, ISU Agronomy Department
Matt Helmers, ISU Ag and Biosystems Engineering Department