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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory » People » Michel Cavigelli

Michel A Cavigelli

Soil Scientist
Summary of Research

Dr. Cavigelli is the Lead Scientist on the Farming Systems Project. The major focus of this long-term field cropping systems study is to evaluate the sustainability of no-till, conventional till, and organic cropping systems by measuring agronomic performance, nutrient dynamics, soil biological activity and community structure, and predicting the long-term sustainability of cropping systems. Dr. Cavigelli's research contributes to all areas of FSP research but his primary focus is on agronomic performance and C, N and P dynamics. He is directly responsible for base-line data such as crop and weed biomass, crop nutrient contents, soil fertility, soil quality, soil nutrient dynamics, and soil moisture and temperature. Nutrient dynamics research currently includes measuring soil inorganic nitrogen dynamics, biogenic greenhouse gas (CO2, N2O, CH4) fluxes, soil and nutrient runoff potentials, and nitrate leaching potential. His goal is to better understand the factors controlling these dynamics and to incorporate these measurements into existing predictive models to help assess C, N and P budgets for the FSP cropping systems. Dr. Cavigelli is also analyzing three years of data on the spatial and temporal variability of soil and crop properties measured on the FSP site prior to the establishment of plots in 1996. In addition, Dr. Cavigelli conducts research on an organic farm near Buckeystown, MD, to determine the effects of intensive tillage on soil quality and the appropriate greensand application rate to maintain adequate K for alfalfa production.