Nebraska Soil Health School hosts poster contest
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) held its second, two-day Nebraska Soil Health School sponsored by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) on June 27, at the West Central Research, Extension and Education Center in North Platte. The workshop also featured a research poster contest for UNL students.
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[00:00:00.000]The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) held its second,
[00:00:03.243]two-day Nebraska Soil Health School sponsored by the
[00:00:06.406]USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) on June 27,
[00:00:10.775]at the West Central Research, Extension and Education
[00:00:14.244]Center in North Platte. Along with educational sessions the workshop also featured
[00:00:20.318]a research poster contest for UNL students. In first place was
[00:00:24.445]Grace Pacheco with her poster entitled “Summer cover crop
[00:00:28.633]establishment and performance under high input and low input conditions in Nebraska.”
[00:00:33.634]Her poster explained her collaboration on the potential
[00:00:37.068]for cover crops raised like a cash crop. So a little bit of our results
[00:00:42.477]for early establishment, we found that when it comes to monocultures,
[00:00:47.840]they preform a lot better in high input locations or where
[00:00:51.970]they are treated with like irrigated or have some nitrogen.
[00:00:55.915]So comparing monocultures versus mixtures, monocultures
[00:00:59.998]did a lot better in high input locations,
[00:01:02.810]but mixes did a lot better in low input locations.
[00:01:05.914]The test plots for the cover crops were located in Lancaster County
[00:01:09.858]and Norht Platte, Nebraska. In North Platte the cover crops
[00:01:13.958]were treated to nitrogen and center pivot irrigation.
[00:01:17.544]Pacheco said the mixes performed well in both high and low input scenarios
[00:01:24.247]Mixes just performed very well, and they were on par with
[00:01:27.595]monoculture grasses. Which also performed really well in the
[00:01:32.635]high input location. And a little bit for like more in-depth analysis we
[00:01:40.016]did some CN ratio, and we found out it didn’t really matter.
[00:01:43.932]If it was a low or high input location. The CN ratio was constant,
[00:01:50.198]although there was a lot higher numbers like carbon in the low input
[00:01:59.763]location, which is expected with like less amount of water,
[00:02:03.119]there was no statistical difference between them.”
[00:02:06.548]Coming in second place was Lithma Kariyawasam with her poster
[00:02:11.588]“Scalability of Soil Health Research.” She is studying the challenges of soil health
[00:02:16.202]by quantifying the extent of degradation and how it effects
[00:02:19.801]or changes soil health. This gap we call as the soil health gap.
[00:02:24.289]It’s simply the difference between soil health in that
[00:02:27.943]undisturbed native soil and the current soil health in the crop
[00:02:31.680]land in the agricultural system. This soil health gap
[00:02:35.117]provides details to set potential soil health targets.
[00:02:38.738]Kariyawasam said the soil health differences between eastern and
[00:02:43.099]western Nebraska vary. So, finally we can conclude based on the
[00:02:49.355]results the reference and cropland should be within the same
[00:02:53.554]CREU (Cropland Reference Ecological Unit) or within the same function
[00:02:58.313]as well and precipitation and then CREU with the soil health gap
[00:03:00.439]concept is helpful in defining the potential capacity of land and setting a realistic
[00:03:06.275]target for monitoring and subsequent measurements.
[00:03:10.066]In third place Sujani De Silva presented “Field pea and chickpea
[00:03:15.355]in wheat-fallow to improve soil health and crop yield.”
[00:03:18.280]In western Nebraska many wheat farmers still use a fallow crop
[00:03:21.640]cycle. De Silva is researching whether adding field or chick peas during a
[00:03:26.275]fallow cycle will increase soil health. The problem is for the green cover
[00:03:32.071]we know it also needs soil moisture. So, there will be a challenge if
[00:03:36.964]we even introduce the legume to the field fallow period it may use
[00:03:43.206]the soil moisture maybe it will affect the wheat yield.
[00:03:46.472]So, that’s why this topic came here. We are
[00:03:48.675]trying to introduce, we are trying to find out what will be the
[00:03:53.265]good soil moisture for the fall’s crop growth without effecting
[00:03:58.924]the wheat yield. She said both kind of peas have short growing days,
[00:04:04.144]are legumes and will improve the soil nitrogen level. Finally, Bridget McKinley
[00:04:09.705]presented on a poster entitled “Assessing the performance of fall
[00:04:13.634]planted cover crop cultivars grown as monocultures vs. mixtures in west
[00:04:18.827]central Nebraska.” She explained more about the project
[00:04:22.031]The goal of the project is to look at different eco regions
[00:04:27.291]of Nebraska and increase knowledge on cover crops and find
[00:04:34.332]the optimal mixtures or monocultures throughout different
[00:04:39.467]locations in Nebraska, including here and west central Nebraska.
[00:04:43.371]McKinley said some of the mixtures didn’t survive over the winter,
[00:04:47.080]but treatments with rye and hairy vetch were the most successful.
[00:04:51.373]The Nebraska Soil Health Schools are designed to build
[00:04:54.273]upon soil-related knowledge and practices for producers, ag professionals,
[00:04:59.103]UNL faculty, students, USDA NRCS employees and others.
[00:05:04.533]The next Nebraska Soil Health School will be
[00:05:06.857]held in eastern Nebraska in the fall.
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