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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Bowling Green, Kentucky » Food Animal Environmental Systems Research » Research » Research Project #431630

Research Project: Soil Health Assessment: Use of Manure and Cover Crop in Small Scale Farming

Location: Food Animal Environmental Systems Research

Project Number: 5040-12630-006-24-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Oct 1, 2016
End Date: Sep 30, 2018

Objective:
The overall goal of the research project will be to evaluate management practices and treatment strategies that protect water quality, reduce atmospheric emissions, and control pathogens at three small scale farms.

Approach:
Our field plot study will be conducted on three small farms. We will measure a number of physical, chemical, and biological soil characteristics prior to, during, and after each season to identify the most important factors controlling soil nutrient availability, uptake and retention, and a comparison of the effects of treatments both within and across the three sites. We will try to investigate and address three fundamental questions: (1) do physical, chemical and biological properties in agricultural soils significantly differ among three farms, (2) what physical, chemical, and biological factors are most important as controls on soil nutrient (carbon, nitrogen, potassium and other essential plant nutrients) and (3) how do improved soil conservation practices alter the controls and availability of nutrient dynamics in small holding farms.