Researchers at MSU receive $750K grant to study soil health after dry start to summer

Published: Jul. 11, 2023 at 4:36 PM EDT
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - A team of researchers at Michigan State University received a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The grant will allow the MSU team to evaluate soil health changes from intensive rainfall and drought. According to the team, this includes exploring the effects summer weather patterns of extreme droughts and intensive rains have on soils in Midwest corn, soybean, and wheat production systems.

Alexandra Kravchenko, a professor in the Department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences, leads the project.

The grant comes after a very dry start to the summer season in Michigan, which stunted the progress of many crops across the state.

“There is a lot of research on climate change and agriculture, but there are few reliable quantitative assessments of the implications of drought or excess moisture on soil health,” said Kravchenko. “This is due in part to the significant expense of field-scale precipitation simulations, as well as the variety of management practices used by farmers. To generate a more comprehensive understanding of the issue, we’re looking at the problem under different management techniques and rainfall scenarios.”

According to the team, an experiment that will take place across a span of four years will be initiated at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station in Hickory Corners, Michigan where researchers will test changes in soil using a number of soil health indicators.

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