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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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National Soil Dynamics Laboratory

411 S. Donahue Drive
Auburn, AL 36832-5806
Phone: 1-334-887-8596  Fax: 1-334-887-8597

Conservation SystemsGlobal ChangeWaste Management

The mission of the National Soil Dynamics Laboratory is to develop tools, practices, and products to better manage soil for sustainable and profitable agricultural production.

The Laboratory studies agricultural issues in three major areas.

  • Conservation systemsseeks to improve production, farm profitability, and environmental quality.

  • Global changestudies the ability of farm systems to mitigate rising atmospheric CO2 via soil carbon storage.

  • Waste managementendeavors to solve both on-farm and environmental problems.


Background of the National Soil Dynamics Laboratory

The National Soil Dynamics Laboratory (NSDL), originally founded as the Farm Tillage Machinery Laboratory in 1933, is located on the campus of Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. Initially charged with researching tillage, associated traction practices, and machines used in cotton production, the scope was soon extended to include all types of tillage, traction machinery, and practices. In 1957, the Laboratory was designated the National Tillage Machinery Laboratory.

In its first 50 years, the Laboratory contributed to the understanding of soil compaction and its management, parameters governing the effectiveness of soil-working tools, the interaction of traction devices and soils, and principles of controlled traffic. The discipline of soil dynamics grew out of this research and was outlined in our book, Soil Dynamics in Tillage and Traction, written by Laboratory researchers. In 1990 the Laboratory was designated a historic landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Society of Agricultural Engineers.

In 1985 the Laboratory became the National Soil Dynamics Laboratory. The current mission of the NSDL, with its focus on relating soil dynamics to sustainable and profitable farm production, was developed with the help of our customers. These individual farmers and associations, governmental agencies, universities, and companies provide advice and collaboration, and test our recommendations, to help ensure that our work is appropriate and successful.

Last Modified: 8/13/2016
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