We are evaluating cropping systems that attempt to reduce synthetic nitrogen inputs and pollution outputs from row crops. We monitor nitrogen availability to crops and measure soil greenhouse emissions and subsurface nitrogen leaching to evaluate pollution losses.

Current research compares cover crop monocultures to diverse mixtures like the soybean, rye grass, red clover mix shown here.

Current research compares cover crop monocultures to diverse mixtures like the soybean, rye grass, red clover mix shown here.

We are working on a variety of projects that evaluate N pollution losses from agroecosystems. In all of these experiments, the goal is to design systems that have low pollution outputs but retain high yield and economic viability. When possible, we take advantage of long-term cropping systems trials that account for cumulative treatment effects over many crop rotations.

A major emphasis has been to increase understanding of nutrient cycling in organic agricultural systems. Organic farmers often use cultivation to manage weeds, but some cultivation practices can diminish soil quality and promote nitrogen leaching and losses of soil organic carbon. We have been working with weed scientists and entomologists to design organic agricultural systems that balance soil health with weed suppression. See Schipanski et al. 2014.

In 2011, we established a new organic agriculture experiment to determine whether diverse cover crop mixtures, as opposed to single-species cover cropping, can enhance ecosystem functions in a corn-soybean-wheat cash crop rotation that produces organic feed and forage. We are designing cover crop mixtures that target nutrient supply, nutrient retention, weed suppression, and management ease, and testing the idea that diverse mixtures provide these functions better than cover crops in monoculture. See Murrell et al. 2017, Finney et al. 2017, White et al. 2017, and Kaye et al. 2019.

The Kaye Biogeochemistry Lab believes that everyone should have equal access to science, and we strive to create an environment that welcomes and respects diversity in all its forms—including cultural, racial, religious, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical ability, and mental wellbeing. Read more here.

The Kaye Biogeochemistry Lab believes that everyone should have equal access to science, and we strive to create an environment that welcomes and respects diversity in all its forms—including cultural, racial, religious, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical ability, and mental wellbeing. Read more here.