2012 Annual Report
Objective 1. Characterize key environmental and management drivers of agricultural wind-blown dust and PM10/PM2.5 emissions that will improve process-oriented models and decision aids. Sub-objective 1.a. Determine the relationship between soil wetness/crusting and emission of windblown dust and PM10/PM2.5. Sub-objective 1.b. Determine the biotic factors driving aggregate formation and stability in dryland soils and their influence on windblown dust and PM10/PM2.5 emissions. Sub-objective 1.c. Determine the effect of wind erosion and management practices on soil organic matter (SOM), soil biological communities and other soil characteristics.
Objective 2. Develop techniques for identifying sources of PM10/PM2.5 to better associate management practices with PM10/PM2.5 emissions and to corroborate models. Sub-objective 2.a. Determine the efficacy of FAME and tracer methods in discerning soils contained in various mixtures. Sub-objective 2.b. Determine point source soil movement and FAME efficacy using known microbial tracers. Sub-objective 2.c. Determine the effectiveness of using FAME fingerprinting to corroborate the Columbia Plateau regional dust transport model.
Objective 3. Characterize roles of environmental and management drivers on soil C and N cycling as factors regulating GHG (N2O, CO2) emissions from agricultural soils. Sub-objective 3.a. Determine soil C sequestration rates and CO2 flux as influenced by agroecosystem drivers (e.g. soil, topography, micro-climate, organisms, management). Sub-objective 3.b. Determine biogeochemical dynamics of soil C and N including N2O flux as influenced by agroecosystem drivers (e.g. soil, topography, micro-climate, organisms, management).
Objective 4. Develop agricultural PM10/PM2.5 and GHG mitigation strategies and management decision aids for Pacific Northwest cropping systems. Sub-objective 4.a. Determine the effectiveness of alternative tillage and cropping practices in reducing the emission of windblown dust and PM10/PM2.5 from agricultural soils. Sub-objective 4.b. Develop precision N management practices that increase N use efficiency and decrease N2O emissions.
Objective 2: To predict dust emissions from agricultural lands, USDA-ARS scientists characterized soil microbial communities in soil and particulate matter at locations across the western US. ARS scientists also worked on improving fingerprint methodology by applying micro-organisms to soil as tracers that could provide a powerful tool for understanding dust emission source and fate. Soil containing marked strains of bacteria (tracer organisms) created a unique fingerprint that was identified and traced using microbial analyses.
Objective 3: USDA-ARS scientists investigated the effects of topography, micro-climate, crop rotation and tillage management on soil C sequestration and nitrogen (N) cycling. Soil C and N dynamics and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were measured in long-term cropping system experiments to improve our assessment of GHG’s from agriculture and develop improved technologies and practices to manage emissions. A 64-chamber study with automated GHG flux measurements was deployed in the field with different N rate and glucose treatments.
Objective 4: In cooperation with Washington State University scientists, ARS scientists completed a study to assess particulate (PM10) emissions from irrigated cover crops. PM10 emissions were collected from two sites in spring 2012 where mustard had been sown the previous winter. This study will aid in developing management practices for irrigated soils that suppress dust emissions and improve air quality.
In cooperation with Washington State University scientists, ARS scientists initiated a study to assess particulate (PM10) emissions from oilseed crops. PM10 emissions were collected from two sites in autumn 2011 where camelina or safflower were grown in rotation with wheat-fallow. This study will aid in identifying potential environmental impacts from growing oilseed crops in the Columbia Plateau.
Field studies at the Cook Agronomy Farm, Pullman and in a field near St. John, Washington were conducted by ARS scientists to evaluate wheat plant density and N fertilizer effects on N Use Efficiency (NUE). Precision N management field studies were initiated at the Wilke Farm near Davenport, Washington. Preliminary results show that NUE can be significantly increased by targeting wheat stand density and N fertilizer rates to specific field locations.
Databases are being analyzed to improve plant component relationships needed for models such as Water Erosion Prediction Project.
Zhang, S., Chen, D., Sun, D., Wang, X., Smith, J.L., Du, G. 2011. Impacts of altitude and position on the rates of soil nitrogen mineralization and nitrification in alpine meadows on the eastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China. Biology and Fertility of Soils. DOI 10.1007/s00374-011-0634-5.
TerAvest, D., Smith, J.L., Carpenter-Boggs, L.A., Granatstein, D.M., Hoagland, L.A., Reganold, J.P. 2011. Soil carbon pools, nitrogen supply, and tree performance under several groundcovers and compost rates in a newly planted apple orchard. Horticultural Science. 46(12):1687–1694.
Saunders, O., Fortuna, A., Harrison, J., Whitefield, E., Cogger, C., Kennedy, A.C., Bary, A.I. 2012. Comparison of raw dairy manure slurry and anaerobically digested slurry as N sources for grass forage production. International Journal of Agronomy. Volume 2012, Article ID 101074, 10 pages.
Abi-Ghanem, R., Carpenter-Boggs, L., Smith, J.L., Vandemark, G.J. 2012. Nitrogen fixation by U.S. and Middle Eastern chickpeas with commercial and wild Middle Eastern inocula. International Scholarly Research Network (ISRN). Volume 2012, Article ID 981842, 5 pages.
Biabani, A., Carpenter-Boggs, L., Coyne, C.J., Taylor, L.D., Smith, J.L., Higgins, S. 2011. Nitrogen fixation potential in global chickpea mini-core collection. Biology and Fertility of Soils. 47:679-685.
Bailey, V.L., Bilskis, C.L., Fansler, S.J., McCue, L., Smith, J.L., Konopka, A. 2012. Measurements of microbial community activities in individual soil macroaggregates. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. Volume 48, Pages 192–195.
Sharratt, B.S., Wendling, L., Feng, G. 2012. Surface characteristics of a windblown soil altered by tillage intensity during summer fallow. Aeolian Research. Volume 5, Pages 1–7.
Qiu, H., Huggins, D.R., Wu, J.Q., Barber, M.E., McCool, D.K., Dun, S. 2011. Residue management impacts on field-scale snow distribution and soil water storage. Transactions of the ASABE. Vol. 54(5): 1639-1647.
McClellen, R.C., McCool, D.K., Rickman, R.W. 2012. Grain yield and biomass relationship for crops in the Inland Pacific Northwest United States. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 67(1):42-50. doi:10.2489/jswc.67.1.42.
Biabani, A., Carpenter-Boggs, L., Coyne, C.J., Taylor, L.D., Smith, J.L., Higgins, S. 2011. Nitrogen fixation potential in global chickpea mini-core collection. Biology and Fertility of Soils. 47:679–685.
Purakayastha, T.J., Smith, J.L., Huggins, D.R. 2009. Microbial biomass and N cycling under native prairie, conservation reserve and no-tillage in Palouse soils. Geoderma. 152:283-289.
Smith, J.L., Bell, J.M., Bolton, H.J., Bailey, V.L. 2007. The initial rate of C substrate utilization and longer-term soil C storage. Biology and Fertility of Soils. 44:315-320.
Halvorson, J.J., Gollany, H.T., Kennedy, A.C., Hagerman, A.E., Gonzalez, J.M., Wuest, S.B. 2012. Sorption of tannin and related phenolic compounds and effects on extraction of soluble-N in soil amended with several carbon sources. Agriculture. 2:52-72.
Feng, G., Sharratt, B.S., Wendling, L. 2011. Fine particle emission potential from loam soils in a semiarid region. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 75:2262–2270. doi:10.2136/sssaj2011.0087.
Stubbs, T.L., Kennedy, A.C. 2012. Microbial weed control and microbial herbicides. In R. Alvarez-Fernandez (Ed.), Herbicides - Environmental Impact Studies and Management Approaches. Rijeka, Croatia. InTech. p.135-166.
Collins, H.P., Mikha, M.M., Brown, T.T., Smith, J.L., Huggins, D.R., Sainju, U.M. 2012. Increasing the sink: agricultural management and soil carbon dynamics: western U.S. croplands. In: Liebig, M., Franzluebbers, A., and Follet, R., editors. Managing agricultural greenhouse gasses. 1st edition. Waltham, MA. Elsevier. p. 59-78.
Halvorson, A.D., Steenwerth, K.L., Suddick, E.C., Liebig, M.A., Smith, J.L., Bronson, K.F., Collins, H.P. 2012. Management to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in western U.S. croplands. Elsevier. New York, NY: Elsevier Inc. p. 167-182.