2017 World Soil Day Event

The Department of Soil Science will screen the movie “Between Earth and Sky” on World Soil Day (Tuesday December 5). The movie examines climate change through the lens of impacts to native Alaskans, receding glaciers, and arctic soil. Permafrost (permanently frozen ground) in the Arctic and Subarctic sequesters 40% of the Earth’s soil carbon. Alaska has experienced the largest regional warming of any state in the U.S. The movie includes interviews with some of the world’s leading scientists in climate change and arctic soils, with the day to day struggle of native Alaskans living on the front lines of global warming.  The movie will screen at 7pm in Room 270 (Soils Building). After the movie (approx.. 1 hour, 20 minutes)  there will be time for questions and discussion. Attendance is free.  Popcorn will be provided – what’s a movie without popcorn!.

Here is a little teaser https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHGCdlI91sg&t=48s

Funded by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Texas Tech Public Media, Soil Science Society of America, BL Allen Endowment in Pedology, University of Alaska-Fairbanks. 

2017 Soil, Water & Nutrient Management Meetings

The Department of Soil Science, in conjunction with University of Wisconsin-Cooperative Extension, will conduct eight Soil, Water, and Nutrient Management Meetings in 2017 (from November 29 to December 5). Meetings will either be mornings from 8:30 to 11 am (with breakfast @ 8 am) or afternoons from 1:30 to 4 pm (with lunch @ 1:00 pm).  The purpose of these meetings is to provide research and information updates in the field of soil, water, and nutrient management.  Francisco Arriaga, Matt Ruark, Brian Luck (all UW-Madison), and Sue Porter (Wis. DATCP) will present current soil, water, and nutrient management information.  A uniform fee of $35 per person will be charged at all locations; this includes the meal and all materials.  Certified Crop Adviser CEU credits (1.0 NM and 2.0 SW) have been requested. Make reservations with the host agent at least 1 week before the meeting you wish to attend. For program content questions, contact Francisco Arriaga (farriaga@wisc.edu) or 608-263-3319.  Presentations include:  Matt Ruark:  (1) Building soil organic matter; (2) Principles of nitrogen use efficiency; (3) Cover crop research update.  Francisco Arriaga:  (1) The value of crop residues; (2) Cover crop survey results.  Sue Porter: Wisconsin nutrient management update.  Brian Luck: Machinery movement for efficient forage harvest and maintaining soil health.

Schedule and Contacts

Wednesday Afternoon, Nov. 29 – DeForest at Comfort Inn, 5025 County Hwy V.   CONTACT HOST: Heidi Johnson, Dane Co. UWEX, or 608-224-3716. Please register online at fyi.uwex.edu/danecountyag/upcoming-ag-programs/.

Thursday Morning, Nov. 30 – Eau Claire at 29 Pines Family Restaurant-Sleep Inn, 5872 33rd Ave. CONTACT HOST: Mark Hagedorn, Eau Claire Co. UWEX, 227 First St., Altoona, WI 54720; 715-839-4712.

Thursday Afternoon, Nov. 30 – Sparta at Jake’s Northwoods, 1132 Angelo Rd., Hwy 21. CONTACT HOST: Bill Halfman, Monroe Co. UWEX, 14345 Co. Hwy B, Rm. 1, Sparta, WI 54656; 608-269-8722

Friday Morning, Dec. 1 – Dodgeville at Iowa Co. Health & Human Services Bldg., 303 W. Chapel St. CONTACT HOST: Gene Schriefer, Iowa Co. UWEX, 303 W. Chapel St., Ste. 1200, Dodgeville, WI 53533; 608-930-9850.

Monday Morning, Dec.4 – Juneau at Dodge Co. Admin Bldg., 127 Oak St. CONTACT HOST: Loretta Ortiz-Ribbing, Dodge Co. UWEX, Admin Bldg. 127 Oak St., Juneau, WI 53039; 920-386-3790.

Monday Afternoon, Dec. 4 – Kiel at Millhome Super Club, 3 miles East on Hwy. 57/31. CONTACT HOST: Mike Ballweg, Sheboygan Co. UWEX, 5 University Dr., Sheboygan, WI 53081; 920-459-5904

Tuesday Morning, Dec. 5 – Cecil at The Main Event, 206 North Lemke St. CONTACT HOST: Jamie Patton, Shawano Co UWEX, Courthouse, Rm. 101, 311 N. Main St., Shawano, WI 54166; 715-526-6136

Tuesday Afternoon, Dec. 5 – Marshfield at Marshfield Ag Research Station Auditorium, 2611 Yellowstone Dr. CONTACT HOSTS: Alana Voss, Adams Co. UWEX, 569 N. Cedar St. Ste. 3, Adams, WI 53910; 608-339-4237 – or – Richard Halopka, Clark Co. UWEX, 517 Court St., Rm. 301, Neillsville, WI 54456; 715-743-5148

The Driftless Reader

Curt Meine, adjunct associate professor in the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, and Keefe Keeley, a PhD candidate with SteveVentura are co-editors of a recently-released book about the Driftless Area titled The Driftless Reader (University of Wisconsin Press, 2017).  Published by the University of Wisconsin Press, the book brings together more than 80 selected readings as well as numerous photographs, maps and paintings to tell the story of the Driftless region’s layered natural and human history. The book features writing by Mark Twain, Robin Kimmerer, Aldo Leopold, Frank Lloyd Wright, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Black Hawk and many more.

New Book by Steve Ventura

Good Food, Strong Communities (edited by Steve Ventura and Martin Bailkey) shares ideas and stories about efforts to improve food security in large urban areas of the U.S. by strengthening community food systems.  It’s the culmination of 5 years of collaboration between a research team comprised of Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison personnel (through a USDA grant), Growing Power, and the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, and more than 30 organizations in numerous U.S. cities. Activists and scholars talk about what’s working and what still needs to be done to ensure that everyone has access to readily available, affordable, appropriate, and acceptable food.  The book will be available this December through University of Iowa Press (https://www.uipress.uiowa.edu/books/2017-fall/good-food-strong-communities.htm).

SnapPlus Nutrient Management Software in the News

A software program intended to cut water pollution and soil erosion has matured into an essential production tool for farmers, says Fond du Lac Co. dairy farmer Josh Hiemstra, who began using the program in 2005. The software is called SnapPlus (Soil Nutrient Application Planner) and was created at the UW-Madison Department of Soil Science.  The program helps farmers make the best use of their on-farm nutrients, as well as make informed and justified commercial fertilizer purchases.  By calculating potential soil and phosphorus runoff losses on a field-by-field basis while assisting in the economic planning of manure and fertilizer applications, SnapPlus provides Wisconsin farmers with a tool for protecting soil and water quality.  Check out the full article by UW News writer David Tennenbaum about the program, go to http://news.wisc.edu/farmers-using-uw-built-software-statewide-to-cut-pollution-plan-soil-fertility/


Congratulations to Yichao Rui (Research Associate with Matt Ruark’s Lab). Yichao recently received the Best Presentation Award (1st place) at the 2nd Annual UW-Madison Postdoctoral Research Symposium that was held on Friday, September 22.  This symposium is a venue for postdocs to share their work with others and foster new collaborations.  New to this year’s symposium was the 5-minute blitz talk competition. Fifty abstracts were received for this competition; 16 of the abstracts were selected to be presented during the symposium.  As the 1st place winner, Yichao received a travel grant to attend a future conference of his choosing.

Francisco Arriaga Honored

The Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) Board of Directors named Francisco Arriaga (Assistant Professor and Extension Soil Specialist in the UW-Madison Department of Soil Science) as a 2017 recipient of the Society’s Fellow Award.  The 72nd International SWCS Conference took place at the Monona Terrace Sunday, July 30 to Wednesday, August 2.  Francisco was honored at the Awards Luncheon held on Tuesday, August 1. The designation of Fellow is conferred on SWCS members who have performed exceptional service in advocating the conservation of soil, water, and related natural resources. This award is given for professional excellence, first and foremost. Professional achievement may be in practicing, investigating, administering, or teaching soil and water conservation or closely related fields. The SWCS Awards Committee evaluates and ranks nominees. Recommendations are then presented to the Board of Directors for final approval. No more than one-tenth of 1% of the Society’s membership will be honored each year.  Congratulations, Francisco — an honor well deserved!!!

Microbiomes: People and Planet

“Microbiomes: People and the Planet” will feature speakers from UW-Madison and other institutions presenting microbiome-related work in the biological, environmental, and social sciences. The seminar series is open to the campus community, and is also being offered as a special topics class to encourage student participation. For more information about the colloquium and its offering as a special topics class, please follow the link below.

http://microbiomespeopleplanet.weebly.com/ .  Each seminar will be followed by a mixer to which all are welcome to partake. Please join us!





Some days ago, we interviewed some undergraduate students for fieldwork positions in the summer. Spring has arrived (well, almost) and we are planning ahead for our projects. We explained the projects to the students and then discussed all the variables, like our new probe sampler, the sampling design, the new instruments that we are using this summer, and of course the weather. It appeared to one of the students that there is lots to be figured out and decisions to be made whilst conducting research – not everything can be planned. The student couldn’t be more right as we are seeking for novelty, trying to explain and understand things a bit better, chasing ideas alongside, whilst keeping our goals and overall progress in close view.

Often, I think our department moves in a similar mode and manner; there are lots of things going on that may appear dispersed but the overall objectives of pushing the frontiers of soil science and doing some of the best teaching and extension is solidly anchored in the commotion of everyday life. We have the good fortune of being supported by a great staff, and an excellent college and university. We have keen undergraduate and graduate students, and a wonderful group of alumni and retired colleagues. The purpose of this newsletter is to keep you informed about departmental activities………………………From Alfred Hartemink

To access the rest of Vol. 8, No. 2 of “Profiles,” log in to MyUW and follow the link. https://uwmadison.app.box.com/files/0/f/27798721833/1/f_176011878926.  Watch for future volumes posted on this web site.

Soil Evolution Par for the Golf Course

Want a good read?  Check out <https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/csa/articles/62/6/4>.  You’ll recognize a few names (some still with the Department of Soil Science and others who have either retired or received their degrees in Soil Science).  Anyway, a good read!  Enjoy!!



Iron- and manganese-cemented layer at the interface of sand and gravel (30-cm depth) on a golf course in Wisconsin. Source: Glen Obear {former research assistant with Doug Soldat}.