Department

About the Department

Agronomy is focused on new and improved ways of agriculture. New methods of conservation. Improved soil health. New approaches to bioenergy. Improved water quality. Advanced genetic traits. The end goal is producing food, fuel and fiber in a more efficient and economical way for the benefit of people and the environment around the world.

We are applying science to advance crop production systems while protecting and improving air, soil and water quality.

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The undergraduate experience at the annual meeting of the Students of Agronomy, Soil & Environmental Sciences (SASES) program features a special program of sessions, contests, networking, social activities, an awards banquet, and tours. The program is developed by the SASES Officers, Advisors, and committees. This is a unique opportunity to experience a scientific meeting, present and compete, meet other students beyond your university (who will be your peers throughout your career), network, and meet prospective employers. Heading to grad school? There will be a session and opportunities to connect with grad school reps from many universities as well!

Parker Kleigl: elected public relations officer

Wyatt Bailey: 1st place in crops showcase

Robert Horton, who holds the Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professorship in Agriculture and Life Sciences in agronomy at Iowa State University, is one of the senior scientists recognized by USDA with its national Multistate Research Excellence Award for 2021 for his part in the long-running project, “Soil, Water and Environmental Physics to Sustain Ag and Natural Resources.”

The multistate project, better known among researchers as W4188, is an initiative whose representatives come from more than 24 research institutions across the country. They collaborate to better understand how heat, water, energy and nutrients move through and interact with soil.

In March of 2021, a decade of hard work and persistence paid off as Katherine Frels moved back to Lincoln and into the field, not as a graduate student but as the first female small grains breeder in University of Nebraska history.

An Iowa State University study looking at the impacts of soil disturbance and early remediation practices from construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline finds significant soil compaction and gradual recovery of crop yield in the right-of-way over five years. 

Led by Mehari Tekeste, our Robert Horton, agronomy soils faculty and Elnaz Ebrihimi, agronomy lecturer were also involved in the project.

Poorly drained agricultural soils emit enough of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide that the resulting climate change effects could far exceed the benefits of using the same soils as a means of sequestering carbon, according to a recently published scientific study.

The study, published Monday in the academic journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that a range of agricultural soils produce nitrous oxide emissions in quantities big enough to contribute to climate change. The researchers compared soils with various moisture content and found agricultural soils are capable of high nitrous oxide emissions across a wide range of environmental conditions.

Etori Soares Veronezi
Etori Soares Veronezi

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Agronomy is hosting undergraduate student interns for a 4-month program at Iowa State University. Etori Soares Veronezi and Luiz Felipe Cruz Silva Fortes are visiting from the Universidade de São Paulo (USP) in Brazil with studies in agronomic engineering under the guidance of Dr. Sotirios Archontoulis, Associate Professor.

Iowa State University scientists, including our Dr. Ken Moore, are developing new approaches to cover crops that incorporate perennial groundcovers, a development that could break down barriers keeping farmers from adopting the cover cropping more widely.

The ISU Soil Judging team traveled to regional competition in Crookston, Minnesota last week. After practicing for a couple days, the team dug (ha!) into the contest pits. An entirely new team, some of whom joined just three weeks before contest, it was an incredible learning experience.

"Overall it was a valuable learning experience," said Jonah Gray, agronomy and environmental science major. "I spent the entire week in soil pits where I could apply the knowledge I gained in class and build a deeper understand of soil as a whole."

Including the addition of a new judging category. Jumble judging combines members from two different universities to form a full team. Both teams that our students served on placed 2nd and 3rd, showcasing their teamwork skills.

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