Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2011
Publication Date: 2/15/2012
Citation: Zobel, R.W. 2012. Inherent agricultural constraints in Allegheny Plateau soils. Agronomy Journal. 104:493-496. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: World population increases demand increased agricultural production. This can be accomplished through improved cultivars and production techniques or increased use of previously marginal agricultural regions. In the Allegheny Plateau (AP) region of the Appalachian Mountains, acid soils with toxic levels of Aluminum and Manganese predominate. Technologies to successfully ameliorate these conditions in other regions have been restricted to the top 5 cm of the AP acid soils when applied as a surface treatment or within the stirred soil when incorporated. The subsoils remain unaffected by these treatments, subjecting crops to aluminum toxicity, and to frequent drought because of the inability of roots to penetrate to the additional reserves of moisture in the subsoils. Unless ameliorating factors that move into the subsoils are identified, or plants tolerant to these soils are developed, the small farmers and family gardeners will continue to be net agricultural importers, at best. A potential interim tactic is the growth of known partially tolerant large grasses on fallow plots to open up the subsoils and leave residual organic matter in the newly opened channels.