Iowa Learning Farms will host a webinar that aims to improve the understanding and management of nitrogen losses from hydric soil landscapes on Wednesday, October 17 at 12:00 p.m.
The leaching of nitrate and emissions of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas, are key environmental impacts of Corn Belt agricultural systems. Dr. Steven Hall, Iowa State University assistant professor of ecology, evolution, and organismal biology, is leading a research group that studies the biological and geochemical processes that control the cycling of organic matter and nutrients across the plant-soil-water-atmosphere continuum. One of their focus areas is the interactions across that continuum in former prairie potholes. These occasionally flooded hydric soils in topographic depressions can contribute disproportionately to nitrogen losses at the landscape scale, suggesting the promise of management interventions that specifically target these features.
“Crop nitrogen use efficiency, farm profitability, and environmental impacts of nitrogen loss are intimately connected,” commented Hall. “Innovative management of cropped hydric soils could yield disproportionate environmental and economic benefits.”