By Srabani Das and Kathleen Bridges – We started our Fall soil sampling, field measurements (OSU) and spectroradiometer measurements (KSU at our 14 sites (12 farms and 2 woods) and are towards completion. The rains got in way of the schedule at times, but overall everything worked well.
As part of the Stark Sustainable Soil Initiative, Camryn Ottey has joined as research assistant and Jimmy Wells has joined as student intern and are helping with work in Fall. On some field days, student volunteers from Malone University have also come and helped. Corn, soybean, and hay are being harvested and the season’s soil sampling: soil corings and bulk density samplings for 0-15 cm and 15-30cm, measurements for soil temperature, volumetric water content, infiltration rate and penetrometer measurements are being carried out at each of the 5 sites for all 14 fields. Additionally, soil color measurements with a Munsell color chart and a mini sensor (NixPro) have also been initiated. The Kent State team are continuing with their measurements of downwelling irradiance, upwelling reflectance for ground and vegetation.
The soil processing (drying, grinding, and sieving) work is ongoing at the NRCS facility in Stark County. With the purchase of an oven (SSSI), it has become more convenient for drying the soil, instead of making trips to OARDC, Wooster. An albedometer has also been purchased (SSSI) to initiate surface albedo studies in the coming months. Kathleen and Srabani will be in the Columbus the entire month of November to run the soil analyses at the CFAES Rattan Lal Center for Carbon Management and Sequestration laboratory, and the second year of data will be ready by the end of the month.
Dr. Kathleen Bridges served as the judge at the annual Soil Health Contest organized by the Stark Soil and Water Conservation District. Heather Neikirk and Kathleen received a 5K grant, the Paul C. and Edna H. Warner Endowment Fund for Sustainable Agriculture Interdisciplinary Grant Program for On-Farm Research, to conduct microbial studies earlier this year, analysis for which is now complete. Kathleen and Srabani gave a talk for the Palmer Lecture Series Colloquium, Department of Geology, Kent State University, invited by Dr. Joseph Ortiz.
Two very productive meetings have already taken place, where the entire team met with Dr. Lal and exchanged ideas and got his input.