SOIL ORGANIC MATTER AND NUTRIENT CYCLING TO SUSTAIN AGRICULTURE IN THE SOUTHEASTERN USA
Location: Athens, Georgia
Project Number: 6612-11120-004-00
Start Date: Apr 28, 2011
End Date: Jan 12, 2012
Generally, we are designing crop and animal management strategies based on sound biogeochemical principles, that are profitable, and have positive environmental impacts. Specifically, we are developing strategies based on experiments evaluating tillage and cover crop management, crop selection and productivity, forage quality and availability, plant genetics, grazing pressure, animal health and productivity, animal manure application, nutrient cycling, soil quality, carbon storage, and water runoff and quality.
To be able to simultaneously address production and environmental issues, we are taking a multidisciplinary approach to 1) understand biogeochemical mechanisms and processes involved in water and nutrient cycles, 2) evaluate alternative management options and 3) develop management systems to improve the sustainability of agriculture in the region. This requires both field and laboratory investigations, including fescue toxicosis effects on animal physiology. Several field studies will give long-term perspectives and yield realistic relationships between productivity and environmental health cropping studies include: 1) water catchments receiving poultry litter with different tillage management and 2) cover cropping trials based on plant species and method and timing of killing. Pasture studies include 1) evaluation of grazing pressure and organic-inorganic fertilization on soil organic C storage, nutrient runoff, and productivity and 2) water catchments with differences in endophyte association, organic-inorganic fertilization, and presence of cattle.