Grower citizen science project uses collaboration to improve soil health

January 06, 2020

West Texas cotton growers face many environmental challenges, including rising temperatures, higher temperature extremes, less rainfall, and a decline in groundwater supplies. While generations of growers have accumulated considerable knowledge about addressing these and other challenges, they can benefit from learning the scientific perspective. Natasja van Gestel provides that perspective through the Grower Citizen Science Project. The primary goal of the project to identify practices that increase soil health.

The Grower Citizen Science Project is a collaboration between soil scientists and growers in the southern High Plains of Texas. Growers have collected soil samples, measured carbon dioxide fluxes, and shared yield data with scientists. Scientists have installed soil moisture and temperature sensors and analyzed nutrients, soil microbial communities, and other data and then shared their findings with growers.

Over the course of this collaboration, scientists have determined that practices such as rotating crops, planting cover crops, and keeping residue on top of the soil surface all benefit soil health. Adding residue to the soil increases organic matter and moisture levels, reduces wind and water erosion, returns nutrients to the soil, helps control weeds, and minimizes heat stress for roots and microbes. Scientists also demonstrated the benefits of no-till systems, which include higher levels of soil moisture, organic matter, and microbial biomass, as well as increased numbers of beneficial microbes, such as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi.

By implementing these practices, which van Gestel outlines in the webcast "Grower Citizen Science Project," growers are able to increase soil resiliency to climate extremes. This presentation will help consultants, county agents, growers, and other practitioners in the southern High Plains understand these regenerative practices.

This 27-minute presentation is available through the "Focus on Cotton" resource on the Plant Management Network. This resource contains more than 75 webcasts, along with presentations from six conferences, on a broad range of aspects of cotton crop management: agronomic practices, diseases, harvest and ginning, insects, irrigation, nematodes, precision agriculture, soil health and crop fertility, and weeds. These webcasts are available to readers open access (without a subscription).
-end-
The "Focus on Cotton" homepage also provides access to "Cotton Cultivated," a new resource from Cotton Incorporated that helps users quickly find the most current cotton production information available. These and other resources are freely available courtesy of Cotton Incorporated at http://www.plantmanagementnetwork.org/foco.

American Phytopathological Society

Related Soil Moisture Articles from Brightsurf:

RUDN University soil scientist: Deforestation affects the bacterial composition of the soil
A soil scientist from RUDN University studied the effect of forest conversion on the properties of the soil: its acidity, carbon and nitrogen resources, bacterial composition, and the activity of microorganisms.

Transparent soil-like substances provide window on soil ecology
By using two different transparent soil substitutes, scientists have shown that soil bacteria rely on fungi to help them survive dry periods, says a study published today in eLife.

Short-term moisture removal can eliminate downy mildew of spinach
Scientists at the University of Arkansas explored the relationship between available moisture and disease establishment and in a recent article they demonstrated that removing moisture decreased both spore survival and disease.

Self-watering soil could transform farming
A new type of soil created by engineers at The University of Texas at Austin can pull water from the air and distribute it to plants, potentially expanding the map of farmable land around the globe to previously inhospitable places and reducing water use in agriculture at a time of growing droughts.

RUDN University soil scientist: Paddy soil fertilization can help reduce greenhouse effect
A soil scientist from RUDN University discovered the effect of fertilization on the ability of the soil to retain carbon.

Soil bogging caused by climate change adds to the greenhouse effect, says a RUDN University soil sci
A soil scientist from RUDN University studied soil samples collected at the Tibetan Plateau and discovered that high soil moisture content (caused by the melting of permafrost and glaciers) leads to further temperature increase.

Global warming threatens soil phosphorus, says a soil scientist from RUDN University
A soil scientist from RUDN University found out that the resources of organic phosphorus in the soils of the Tibetan Plateau could be depleted because of global warming.

Iron is to blame for carbon dioxide emissions from soil, says a soil scientists from RUDN
Iron minerals and bacteria can be the main agents of carbon dioxide emissions from the soil.

Heavy metals make soil enzymes 3 times weaker, says a soil scientist from RUDN University
Heavy metals suppress enzyme activity in the soil by 3-3.5 times and have especially prominent effect on the enzymes that support carbon and sulfur circulation.

A continuous simulation of Holocene effective moisture change in East and Central Asia
Based on a transient climate evolution model, a lake energy balance model and a lake water balance model, the effective moisture change during the Holocene in East and Central Asia is continuously and quantitatively traced by constructing a virtual lake system.

Read More: Soil Moisture News and Soil Moisture Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.