Dr. Michael Castellano (Associate Professor, Dept. of Agronomy, Iowa State Univ., Ames, IA) will present The Leo M. Walsh Distinguished Lecture in Soil Science entitled “Biogeochemical consequences of an aging soil infrastructure” on Wednesday, May 2, 2018 at 4:15 p.m. in 270 Soils Building. A reception will follow in the Jackson-Tanner Commons.

The greatest land improvement for agriculture is drainage. Recently, scientists have speculated that drainage – rather than tillage – caused the massive loss of soil organic matter from cropping of the Midwest U.S. prairie. Over 30 million acres of U.S. cropland are drained, representing an investment in excess of $20 billion. However, most Midwest U.S. drainage systems are approaching the end of their design life. Moreover, climate change and cropping systems intensification have led to an increase in drainage requirements for economical crop production. Deterioration and improvement of drainage networks have enormous impacts on soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics. As the U.S. upgrades aging drainage infrastructure, soil scientists must work to balance a series of biogeochemical trade-offs that impact soil carbon storage, crop production, and nitrogen use efficiency. The lecture is made available by the generosity of Leo M. Walsh and the Leo M. Walsh Distinguished Lecture in Soil Science Fund.