Research

Iowa State University scientists have harnessed data analytics to look “under the hood” of the mechanisms that determine how genetics and changing environmental conditions interact during crucial developmental stages of plants.

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.

Iowa State University scientists are leading an effort to improve efficiency and genetics in organic corn production, a fast-growing sector of the agricultural world since the beginning of 2020.

Thomas Lübberstedt, a professor of agronomy at Iowa State, leads a research team aiming to develop new lines of corn that take advantage of recent advancements in crop genetics that also can be grown according to organic standards. The research team recently received a $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to apply genetic tools to the development of organic sweet corn and varieties of corn for specialty uses, such as for popcorn and tortillas.

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