Date

1-4-2017 12:00 AM

Major

Environmental Science and Agronomy

Department

Environmental Science

College

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Project Advisor

Lee Burras

Project Advisor's Department

Agronomy

Description

Guatemala lacks soils information, yet soils knowledge is essential in order to reduce environmental impacts, improve food security, determine best farming practices, and increase crop yields. Reasons for the lack of information include lack of personnel and difficulty accessing equipment. This study's objective is to remedy those shortcomings via (a) the creation and sending of a soil testing kit, (b) corresponding manual written for non-soil scientist use, and (c) mechanisms to send data to ISU for thorough analysis. The soil testing kit included basic laboratory materials used to test essential soil characteristics such as soil aggregate stability, aggregate size, pH, color, and structure. The field site is an experimental farm owned by the non-profit sustainable agriculture organization, Semilla Nueva. Semilla Nueva has overseen a tillage experiment from 2013 to the present but has not collected soil health data. The present study utilized established experimental plots already subjected to three different management treatments (no-till, tilled, and burned) in order to better understand how different tillage practices affect soil health characteristics in this region. Preliminary results suggest that soil aggregate stability, pH, exchange capacity, and soil structure grade were all negatively impacted by tillage and plant residue burning.

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Poster

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Apr 1st, 12:00 AM

Tillage Effects on Soil in Southern Guatemala: A case study using remote analyses

Guatemala lacks soils information, yet soils knowledge is essential in order to reduce environmental impacts, improve food security, determine best farming practices, and increase crop yields. Reasons for the lack of information include lack of personnel and difficulty accessing equipment. This study's objective is to remedy those shortcomings via (a) the creation and sending of a soil testing kit, (b) corresponding manual written for non-soil scientist use, and (c) mechanisms to send data to ISU for thorough analysis. The soil testing kit included basic laboratory materials used to test essential soil characteristics such as soil aggregate stability, aggregate size, pH, color, and structure. The field site is an experimental farm owned by the non-profit sustainable agriculture organization, Semilla Nueva. Semilla Nueva has overseen a tillage experiment from 2013 to the present but has not collected soil health data. The present study utilized established experimental plots already subjected to three different management treatments (no-till, tilled, and burned) in order to better understand how different tillage practices affect soil health characteristics in this region. Preliminary results suggest that soil aggregate stability, pH, exchange capacity, and soil structure grade were all negatively impacted by tillage and plant residue burning.