Overall, this sampling event was a great learning experience. I learned that trying to use the ‘better’ option was a mistake, as with all scientific methods, it should have been tested and proven to work before it was used for a sampling event. We were able to overcome defeat on the first day of soil sampling, but due to the strong support and dedication I have from fellow masters students and the technical team at the USDA the sampling was a success. I have learned what not to do, and am feeling more motivated and confident for the rest of the sampling events over the course of the summer!
- By Briana OtteMy research project has recently shifted from examining allelopathy in cereal rye to quantifying inorganic nitrogen (N) uptake and release from cereal rye. Specifically, I am looking at how an early termination date versus a late termination date of cereal rye impact inorganic nitrogen movement through the soil profile to synchronize N release from the cereal rye to the critical growth stage of corn. My project will examine the N movement to a 100 cm depth in the soil profile and how these termination dates affect N movement and corn performance in a water stressed and a non-water stressed no-till corn production system. Although I am very excited to focus on a project I am more interested in, there was a rapid transition period causing some minor (but not insurmountable) difficulties!
My new project involves taking soil cores to a 100 cm depth to observe N differences from the topsoil to the subsoil. In order to reach the 100 cm depth, we had plans to use a new AMS Ag-Probe 9100 mounted on a UTV. However, at the last minute, we decided to use an older mechanical soil probe, which could sample deeper in the profile. After the first soil core the old soil probe broke down! Sampling is time sensitive, so we had to hustle! We called in reinforcements (other AgroEcoLab members) to help with the soil collections using another probe and some old fashioned hand augering.
Dr. Kate Tully
Kate is an Assistant Professor of Agroecology at the University of Maryland.