New OSU Extension Expert Working With Growers To Reduce Nutrient Loads

A new soil fertility specialist with Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences is looking for a few good growers to help update fertility recommendations for Ohio soybeans.

Steve Culman, a newly hired Ohio State University Extension specialist in soil fertility, is part of a team of college experts seeking soybean growers to participate in a project to look at phosphorus and potassium in soybeans as part of an overall effort to update the Tri-State Fertility Recommendations (Ohio, Michigan and Indiana) for soybeans.

“The project, which is sponsored by the Ohio Soybean Council, involves casting a broad net to collect data from a large number of farms across the state to determine updated phosphorus and potassium fertilization rates for soybeans,” he said.

The team is made up of scientists from OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach and research arms, respectively, of the college.

The team includes Anne Dorrance, soybean plant pathologist; Laura Lindsey, soybean and small grains production Extension specialist; Andy Michel, field crops entomologist; and Greg LaBarge, Extension field specialist in agronomic systems and one of the leaders of Ohio State’s Agronomic Crops Team.

Culman said the team is hoping to work with about 30 growers for the project. Growers would have a large degree of flexibility in the layout and management of their fields in the experiments, which could involve either applying additional fertilizer to plots or applying no fertilizer to plots, he said.

“We are ideally looking for farms that help capture a diversity of soil types and soil test phosphorus and potassium ranges,” Culman said. “Since our research farms typically have high phosphorus and potassium levels, low soil test phosphorus and potassium farms are of particular interest.

“We are also looking for small fields less than two acres in western Ohio to rent for contracted fertility work.”

Growers can determine the fertility rates, and farmers and educators will be paid for their time and effort, he said.

To participate, interested farmers should contact Culman at 330-263-3787 or email [email protected].

A native of Ohio, Culman earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Thomas Moore College, a master’s degree in soil science from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in agronomy, also from Cornell. His areas of expertise include soil fertility and nutrient cycling, organic matter dynamics, and soil food webs.

Culman said his Extension goals are to work on developing cropping techniques that improve production, sustainability and economic return for Ohio’s stakeholders.

In addition to working as an Extension specialist, Culman is an assistant professor in soil fertility in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at Ohio State, where he will spend time researching timely, efficient fertilizer use, developing farmer-based and in-field methods of nutrient management, and developing long-term management strategies to build organic matter and soil fertility, he said.

“I’m interested in using nutrients more efficiently, reducing nutrient loads in waterways, increasing farmer profitability through the judicial use of fertilizers and the better overall management of nutrients,” Culman said.

Source: The Ohio State University, College of Food, Agricultural, And Environmental Sciences

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