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David Huggins
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Link to Dave Huggins' Projects and Publications



Dr. Dave Huggins is a Soil Scientist with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Northwest Sustainable Agroecosystems Research Unit, Pullman, WA.  Dr. Huggins received his Ph.D. in soil fertility and plant nutrition from Washington State University in 1991.  His doctoral dissertation was on redesigning no-till cropping systems for increased productivity and N use efficiency.  Prior to joining the USDA-ARS in 1997, Dr. Huggins was an Assistant Professor with the University of Minnesota in the Dept. of Soil, Water and Climate where he led investigations on crop rotation, N use efficiency and tillage practices for corn and soybean.  Dr. Huggins has worked with direct-seed farmers and other professionals since 1981 including several seasons operating a no-till drill in a custom seeding business.  Currently, Dr. Huggins aids in managing two research farms: the 202 acre USDA-ARS Palouse Conservation Field Station and the 140 acre WSU Cook Agronomy Farm near Pullman WA.  Both of these research farms have extensive studies in no-till and precision agriculture.  Overall, current research is directed to assess interactive effects of terrain attributes, soil properties, C and N cycling, crop diversity and tillage on agroecosystem performance.  Process-based and empirical models are coupled with research in order to evaluate and improve prediction.  Specific research is primarily conducted at field-scales with the following objectives.


(1) Develop efficient and sustainable dryland agricultural systems utilizing crop rotation, conservation tillage and precision agricultural techniques to improve C and N cycling and N use efficiency (NUE), and to control trace gas fluxes and soil erosion in the Pacific Northwest.


(2) Determine whether topographic, vegetation, and N efficiency indices computed from terrain modeling and crop proximal/remote sensing can improve prediction of crop N status, NUE, and grain yield/quality response to N applications; and provide spatially distributed inputs for precision N strategies.


(3) Determine trade-offs between short-term economic return to growers who harvest crop residues for bioenergy feedstocks versus long-term benefits of retaining crop residues to maintain soil organic matter and sequester carbon.


Dr. Huggins has authored/co-authored 39 peer-reviewed journal articles and 14 peer-reviewed book chapters with over 100 different scientists representing 15 disciplines.  In addition, he has 47 technical publications and given 125 oral/poster presentations at national and international meetings on soil fertility, soil biochemistry, soil conservation and land management, soil physics, crop science, agronomy, agricultural systems, agricultural economics and biophysical systems modeling.  Dr. Huggins has been a Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-PI on 40 grants totaling over $7,000,000.  He is a recognized international authority on: agriculture management impacts on soil C and the use of C-13 to assess soil C transformations; N use efficiency of cereal crops; and sustainable agricultural systems including no-till. He recently co-authored a publication on No-till agriculture for Scientific American. 


Dr Huggins is an Ex-Officio Board Member of the Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Association and a District Supervisor on the Latah Soil and Water Conservation District Board.