soil

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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Crops Team

Our Iowa State Crops Team Recently traveled to Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky to compete at the NACTA Judging Conference. The team participated in the Crops contest which consisted of Plant and Seed Identification, lab practical, including knowledge of insects, equipment, herbicides, fertilizers, and more, a math practical, and an agronomic exam.

Team members are Andrew Blomme, Shannon Breja, Jenna Cowan, and Alyssa Swehla. Individuals who also competed were Ben Kolbe, Ted Hilgerson, and Hannah Holdsworth. Dr. Mindy DeVries is their coach.

Colloid-Mediated Transport of Hormones with Land-Applied Manure

Endocrine-disrupting hormones may enter the environment via land application of livestock manure. With respect to both livestock production and soils, Iowa is the prototype for agriculture in the Midwest. Our hypothesis is that the risk of hormone transport can be better understood by knowledge of the mechanisms of sorption, desorption, and transport of colloid-hormone complexes.

Determining soil water evaporation and subsurface evaporation zones

Evaporation from the soil largely determines water availability in terrestrial ecosystems and the partitioning of solar radiation between sensible and latent heat. It is key to hydrology and climate. The evaporation process is complex, involving movement and phase change of water, varying with depth and time. Following water inputs, evaporation occurs at the soil surface, controlled by atmospheric demand. As surface soil water is depleted, evaporation becomes soillimited and shifts below the surface; nonetheless it is generally viewed as a strictly surface process.

Siblings Kelli and Mitchell Roush are teaching assistants, or TAs, for Agronomy 182, our Introduction to Soil Science class. Kelli has been a TA for four semesters and Mitchell has been for two semesters.

Mitchell’s favorite part about TA-ing with his sister is that they are able to use different methods to help students learn and understand different concepts. They both have different teaching styles, which helps if a student doesn’t understand his way, then Kelli’s method may work better for that student.

John Hammerly graduated in 2007 with his degree in Agronomy. He is now currently located in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he is the Soil Data Quality Specialist for the United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Soil and Plant Division.

With his position, he serves as the Soil Survey Representative to an assigned area and he assures the technical quality of soil survey data. Tyler also coordinates the development and presentation of soil interpretations with the National Soil Survey Center (NSSC) and other technical soil scientists. He provides training and technical assistance to soil survey offices in all phases of soil survey for his assigned area.

Nate and Lizzy met as students in the Agronomy Department and are recent graduates. Nate asked Lizzy out on their first date after he had kissed her. He stopped and said that he wanted to do it the right way, so he asked her on a date mid-kiss. Of course Lizzy said yes, and Nate planned the perfect date. Mini golfing, sushi and a night under the stars in a hay field with a bottle of red wine and plastic wine glasses, which they still have.

The couple got engaged last Christmas at the High Trestle Trail Bridge in the freezing cold and with a secret photographer, but it was perfect. The bridge was the first place where the couple spent time just the two of them talking about life and their purpose.

2019 Soil Health Conference Registration Is Open

Conference focus is on science and practices for advancing soil health

Mahdi Al-Kaisi

two hands holding soil.AMES, Iowa – The third Soil Health Conference will be held in Ames on Feb. 4-5, 2019. The event will consist of two full days of presentations on a wide variety of topics concerning soil health, with invited guest speakers from around the country.

The Iowa State University Department of Agronomy’s very own soil team placed second in group judging and second overall out of eight teams in the soils contest hosted by Kansas State University. The team consists of 11 members; Jacob Wright, Kelli Roush, Erik Fevold, Eric Bro, Hannah Weber, John Green, Tristan Dittmer, Jacob Schultz, Austin Day, Collin Stark, and Catherine Thom. The team is coached by Amber Anderson, and her two assistants are Danny Brummel and Josh McDanel.

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