2018 Soil, Water, and Nutrient Management Meetings

The University of Wisconsin-Extension in conjunction with UW-Madison Department of Soil Science will conduct eight Soil, Water, and Nutrient Management Meetings Nov. 27 to Dec. 6, 2018 around the state to provide research updates in the field of soil management, fertility, and nutrient management.  All questions/comments should be directed to Francisco Arriaga, 608-263-3913, farriaga@wisc.edu.

Presentations include:
– Cover crops and nutrient management
– Can we use soil health tests for fertilizer recommendations?
– Evaluating fall manure BMPs
– Sampling soils and plants in Wisconsin
– Are FGD and SDA calcium sulfite worth using?
– Soil compaction issues after a wet fall – recap
– Wisconsin nutrient management update

Speakers include UW-Extension Soil Specialists Carrie Laboski, Matt Ruark, and Francisco Arriaga; Andrew Stammer, Director of the Soil & Forage Analysis Laboratory; and Sue Porter, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Meetings will held from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm with a lunch break between 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm. Registration is $45 per person. Lunch and a packet with relevant resources are included with registration. It is requested to contact the host of the location you are interested in attending to pre-register at least 1 week prior to the event to save a seat, meal, and materials packet. Continued Education Units (CEUs) for Certified Crop Advisers will be provided (2.0 NM and 2.0 SW).

The schedule for the meetings is:

– Tuesday, November 27:: DeForest at Comfort Inn, 5025 County Hwy V. Contact: Heidi Johnson, UW-Extension Dane County at 608-224-3716. Please register online at fyi.uwex.edu/danecountyag/upcoming-ag-programs/

– Wednesday, November 28: Eau Claire at Clarion Hotel, 2703 Craig Road. Contact: Mark Hagedorn, UW-Extension Eau Claire County, 227 First St., Altoona, WI 54720; 715-839-4712.

– Thursday, November 29: Sparta at Jake’s Northwoods, 1132 Angelo Rd., Hwy 21. Contact: Bill Halfman, UW-Extension Monroe County, 14345 Co. Hwy B, Rm. 1, Sparta, WI 54656; 608-269-8722.

– Friday, November 30: Marshfield at Marshfield Ag Research Station Auditorium, 2611 Yellowstone Dr. Contact: Evan Henthorne, UW-Extension Adams County, 569 N. Cedar St. Ste. 3, Adams, WI 53910; 608-339-4237.

– Monday, December 3: Juneau at Dodge County Admin Bldg., 127 Oak St. Contact: Laure Dei, UW-Extension Dodge County, Admin Bldg. 127 Oak St., Juneau, WI 53039; 920-386-3790.

– Tuesday, December 4: Kiel at Millhome Super Club, 3 miles East on Hwy. 57/31. Contact: Mike Ballweg, UW-Extension Sheboygan County, 5 University Dr., Sheboygan, WI 53081; 920-459-5904.

– Wednesday, December 5: Cecil at The Main Event, 206 North Lemke St. Contact: Kimberly Kassube, UW-Extension Shawano County, Courthouse, Rm. 101, 311 N. Main St., Shawano, WI 54166; 715-526-6136.

– Thursday, December 6: Dodgeville at Iowa County Health and Human Services Bldg., 303 W. Chapel St. Contact: Gene Schriefer, UW-Extension Iowa County, 303 W. Chapel St., Ste. 1200, Dodgeville, WI 53533; 608-930-9850.

New Technology Developed in Arriaga Lab

For more than a century, cheesemakers and vegetable processors have applied water remaining after production to open fields and farmland. The wastewater was used to wash vegetables, or contains whey left over after milk was processed into cheese.  Over the years, producers have removed most impurities from this wastewater. But there was no definitive answer on whether the remaining nitrogen (in the form of nitrate) was polluting groundwater and residential water wells.

The report of a 3-year study, jointly funded by industry and the Wis. Department of Natural Resources, was recently released. The results offer some support for the long-held belief that much of the nitrogen in the wastewater leaves the soil and harmlessly enters the atmosphere.

The groundbreaking study also showed that rates of this process, called denitrification, vary depending on season, soil type, crop cover, and application rates. Because the atmosphere contains about 78% nitrogen, measuring transfers from the soil is extremely difficult, says study leader Francisco Arriaga, an assistant professor of soil science. The automated technology developed in his lab captures and measures nitrogen as it escapes to the atmosphere; efforts by PhD candidate Clay Vanderleest were instrumental in developing this technology for the study.

For more on this report, go to https://news.wisc.edu/food-processors-uw-collaborate-to-remove-guesswork-from-wastewater-disposal/

James G. Bockheim Distinguished Lecture in Soil Science

“Soil Carbon:  The Labile, the Stable, and the Unknown”

Dr. Sylvie Quideau, University of Alberta, Soil Biogeochemistry, Edmonton, Canada

Wednesday, November 14, 2018 @ 3:45 pm in 270 Soils Bldg.

Reception to follow.

ABSTRACT:  Soil performance is directly linked to its organic carbon content, and as such, soil carbon has often been considered as a proxy for soil quality. More recently, soil carbon has received renewed attention as one of the key players in the global carbon cycle. Soil carbon encompasses a series of pools with differing residence times. Labile carbon may turnover within days or years, while stable carbon may persist in soils for thousands of years. In between these two extremes, lies carbon with intermediate (decadal) turnover rates. This decadal pool is of particular relevance to the overall soil carbon response to climatic changes over the next century. This presentation will present major advances of the past three decades in our understanding of soil carbon dynamics, including formation pathways and stabilization mechanisms. The synergy of complementary approaches will be highlighted; starting from a sound pedology-based field approach using controlled soil sequence, to detailed laboratory characterization using solid-state 13C NMR spectroscopy and compound-specific isotopic analyses.

{Made possible by the generous support of  James and Julie  Bockheim}


The first-ever discovery of prions in soil and water near Wisconsin mineral licks points to another transmission route for chronic wasting disease (CWD). The research is led by Michael Samuel (an emeritus professor of wildlife ecology) and Joel Pedersen (professor of soil science).  The study is described in “Deer Disease Reservoirs” in the Fall 2018 edition of CALS Grow Magazine.


– And –

Thea Whitman (assistant professor of soil science) is also featured in this same Fall 2018 edition of CALS Grow Magazine with an article entitled “Controlled Burn.”  The article describes Thea’s research digging into questions of soil, carbon, and biochar that could determine the ultimate trajectory of climate change. 



To read more about both of these fascinating studies, go to https://grow.cals.wisc.edu/


The Department of Soil Science welcomes its newest faculty member, Assistant Professor Jingyi Huang.  Dr. Huang, originally from China, completed his master and PhD degrees on applying electromagnetic induction theories in soil and water mapping, monitoring, and management at the University of New South Wales, Australia.  Afterward, he continued his research career as a post-doctoral researcher in the University of Sydney and University of New South Wales, during which he studied the spatial-temporal variations of soil properties at different scales using various proximal and remote sensing technologies and machine learning and data assimilation algorithms. He is looking forward to sharing his ideas and expertise in soil sensing and modeling and collaborating with people in the department and across the university to push the boundary of our understanding of the soil in the water-energy-food nexus. Dr. Huang has an immediate opening for a PhD student in the Soil Sensing and Monitoring Lab. The applicant will have an opportunity to conduct research activities in a multi-discipline environment and will explore the use of various sensing technologies in soil and water resources monitoring and management.  Please contact Dr. Huang if you are interested in the PhD position (jhuang426@wisc.edu; Mobile: +1 (608) 770 6771); Skype jingyi.huang0402 |

Google Scholar https://scholar.google.com.au/citations?user=ZEkcUDUAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao.  Application for the position must be made through the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School at https://grad.wisc.edu/apply/; the application includes a statement of interest, GRE and/or TOEFL scores, three letters of recommendation, and transcripts from universities the applicant has attended.


“Mineral licks as environmental reservoirs of chronic wasting disease prions,” which was funded by the U.S. Geological Survey with support from the National Science Foundation, was published May 2 in the journal PLOS ONE. Michael Samuel, an emeritus professor of wildlife ecology, and Joel Pedersen, professor of soil science, led the work, with colleagues in forest and wildlife ecology and the Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Center at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.  The research was covered in the following venues: WKOW 27 ABC 5 May 2018, Wisconsin State Journal 4 May 2018, interview with Chuck Quirmbach from Wisconsin Public Radio 3 May 2018, and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 2 May 2018. The university also ran a piece on this research; this can be found at the following web site:

https://news.wisc.edu/cwd-prions-discovered-in-soil-near-wisconsin-mineral-licks-for-the-first-time/.  To see the full article as it appears in PLOS ONE, check out http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0196745 .


The Department of Soil Science celebrates a new professorship established through a generous gift from emeritus professor Marv Beatty. The professorship will provide a tenured faculty member with resources to pursue research, attend professional meetings, travel, support undergraduate research and hire graduate student assistants. According to Marv, “there were a lot of opportunities to innovate while at UW-Madison. This institution offered me endless opportunities to be creative, to do what I could do, and I’m very glad to be able to come back and give back a little bit.”  Marv received many accolades and awards over his career, including the Distinguished Service Award from UW-Extension; the Outstanding Service Award from the Wisconsin Association of Conservation Districts; and the Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Chapter of the Soil Conservation Society of America; as well as being named Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  At the gift reception held on April 6, 2018 (see photo above), Dean VandenBosch thanked Marv for his “many contributions to soil science, to UW-Extension and to CALS, and for this wonderful gift that will help support the Department of Soil Science now and into the future.”  To establish the professorship, Marv gave a gift of $1.2M, which qualified for an additional $500,000 from the university’s “Morgridge Match” program. UW-Madison alumni John and Tashia Morgridge promised $100M to match new gifts toward professorships at UW-Madison. The Marvin T. Beatty Professorship in Soil Science will be awarded for 5-year terms, with the faculty member selected by the Department of Soil Science.


Congratulations to Steve Ventura and his colleagues associated with “The Compost Project – A Systems Approach to Food Waste Composting for Urban Agriculture” on being selected as 2018 Community-University Partnership Award recipients.  The award will be presented by Chancellor Blank at a reception at Olin House on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.