High levels of soil organic matter (SOM) in Iowa soils have made it one of the most resilient and productive regions in the world. However, microbial metabolism of SOM has increased due to erosion and tillage, and has resulted in the loss of 30-50% of Iowa’s native SOM. There are many strategies aimed at restoring SOM in Iowa, but science’s fundamental understanding of SOM dynamics is inadequate for designing agricultural systems that will contribute to SOM levels. Through modeling and actual test plots, this project aims to expand basic understanding of organic matter in Iowa soils in order to pursue worthwhile practices that increase or maintain SOM levels or adapt to inevitable SOM loss.
Ranae Dietzel is a post-doctorate research associate in the ISU Department of Agronomy, earning a Ph.D. in crop production and physiology and sustainable agriculture in 2014. She earned a master’s degree in soil science at Cornell University, and a bachelor of arts in biology from the University of Minnesota-Morris. Her research focuses on corn, soybean and prairie systems as well as agronomic and environmental problems through field measurements and computer simulations.
Sotirios Archontoulis, ISU Agronomy Department
Matt Liebman, ISU Agronomy Department