Agroecological Research

The Russell Ranch field day took place on May 28, 2014 with the theme "Soil Matters: Underground at the Century Experiment." Over 160 attendees learned about sustainable soil management with presentation topics on crop nutrition and irrigation, soil microbial populations, and the effect of soil amendments like biochar, compost and tillage on soil health. The growers' panel featured Kate Scow as the moderator with Farmers Ed Sills, Russ Lester, Mark Cooley and Paul Muller, who discussed soil resilience and testing for soil health and biology. 

The Russell Ranch Field Day brings together researchers, extension specialists, farmers, students and people from a wide range of organizations to learn and discuss sustainable agriculture. Scientists and industry partners will present research results on soil microbiology, nutrient uptake, carbon sequestration and irrigation practice. See below for more information about each presentation. 

Field presentations:

Nitrate leaching, drought and irrigation management in agriculture

Ahmad Moradi (Post-doc, Land, Air and Water Resources (LAWR)): Water and nitrate fluxes in soil below winter fallow and bean or triticale cover crop rotations. Handout

Matt Dumlao (Graduate student, LAWR): Cover crops with contrasting root systems: nitrate movement during the winter (rainy) season. Handout

Daoyuan Wang (Visiting scholar, LAWR): The impact of drought and wet-dry cycles on soil nutrient leaching. Handout

Radomir Schmidt and Fungai Mukome (Graduate students, LAWR): Impacts of N fertilizer addition on soil structure, C and N dynamics and microbial populations in conventional and organic farming systems. Handout

Steve Meek (Farmer, J.H. Meek and Sons): Soil biology and drip impacts in processing tomatoes

Soil biology: Microbial communities and impact on farming systems

Annie Bossange (Graduate student, LAWR): Microbial communities in long-term no tillage systems. Handout

Kelly Gravuer and Priyashiela Singh (Graduate students, LAWR): Differences in soil microbial communities among management systems. Handout

Johan Leveau (Faculty, Plant Pathology): A microbial census of soils and plants in tomato fields. Handout

Biochar: Carbon sequestration and nutrient impacts

Deirdre Griffin (Graduate student, LAWR): Impacts of biochar amendment on soil nutrient availability and crop growth. Handout

Sanjai Parikh (Faculty, LAWR): Can biochar be used to enhance native soil carbon stocks? Handout

Soil nutrient budgets and management 

Mark Lundy (UCCE Farm Advisor): Calibrating in-field diagnostic tools for improved N management in wheat. Handout

Sonja Brodt (Academic Coordinator, Agriculture Resources and Environment, ASI): Solution Center for Nutrient Management. Presentation

Gabriel Maltais Landry (Graduate student, Stanford University): Phosphorus budgets of organic, conventional, mixed and no-input management at Russell Ranch. Presentation

Marsha Campbell Mathews (UCCE Farm Advisor): N Ledger program for Nitrogen management. Presentation

Poster presentations:

Darren Drewry (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech): Airborne Spectroscopy for Identifying Water and Nutrient Limitations in Grain Crops. Poster

Daniel Geisseler (Post-doc, LAWR): Fertilization Guidelines for Major Crops in California. Poster

Jessa Guisse (Xerces Society): Beneficial Insect Habitat Enhances Ecosystem Services for Agriculture;  Advancing the Science of Pollinator Habitat Restoration. Poster 1Poster 2

Carl Jensen (Graduate student, IAD): Seeking Synchrony with Integrated Soil Fertility Management: Establishing a reference gradient of nitrogen need and availability. Poster
Gabe La Hue (Graduate student, IAD): Do Soils at Russell Ranch Have a Memory? The Effect of Fertilization History on Nitrous Oxide Emissions. Poster
Megan McCaghey (Graduate student, IAD and ASI): Effect of Mycorrhizal Inoculants, Compost, and Plant Flavonoid Inducers on Processing Tomatoes. Poster
Fungai Mukome (Post-doc, LAWR): Impacts of Nitrogen Fertilization Addition to Soil C and N Dynamics in Conventional and Organic Farming Systems. Poster
Radomir Schmidt (Post-doc, LAWR): Short-term Impacts of Fertilizer Addition on Soil Aggregate Composition and Microbial Populations in Conventional and Organic Farming Systems – Soil Microcosm Study. Poster
Lee Tecklenburg and Joey Zappala (PureSense): PureSense Irrigation Manager. Poster
Jordon Wade (Graduate Student, LAWR): Estimating Seasonal N Mineralization  from Short-Term CO2 Evolution. Poster

Grower discussion panel: Kate Scow (moderator), Mark Cooley, Paul Muller, Russ Lester and Ed Sills on "Soil implications for on-farm decisions"