Birl Lowery

lowery_md

Birl Lowery – Professor Emeritus

Soil physics, soil and water management and conservation.

UW-Madison, Department of Soil Science
1525 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1299, USA

Email: blowery@wisc.edu

Program Affiliations

  • Department of Soil Science

Education

  • BS Agricultural Education, 1973, Alcorn State University
  • MA Agricultural Engineering Technology, 1975, Mississippi State University
  • PhD Soil Physics, 1980, Oregon State University

Teaching and Research Overview

My research applies basic soil physical principles to solve soil and water management and conservation problems. This involves both field and laboratory work, focusing on the dynamics of soil water and temperature regimes, solute flux, soil compaction, and other physical properties.

I am particularly interested in the movement of water and pollutants in soils; soil compaction; effects of soil erosion on crop production and soil quality; and effects of conservation tillage on soil physical properties and solute movement.

Groundwater contamination by nonpoint- and point- source pollutants is a national and international problem. We are conducting research to determine the potential for groundwater contamination by agricultural chemicals, and the impact of water use for crop irrigation on groundwater table elevations in Central Wisconsin. We are also evaluating management methods for improving irrigation water use and reducing nitrogen leaching by band-applying surfactant and slow-release nitrogen into potato ridges.

Soil is a nonrenewable resource, and much of our good farmland is eroded each year by wind and water. We can improve the chemistry of eroded land by adding fertilizer but it is difficult to improve the physical properties. Our research shows that losing rooting depth and water storage capacity is irreversible. We are investigating the potential use of organic residue such as animal manure to improve the physical condition of eroded land and increase soil carbon.

I teach Physical Principles of Soil and Water Management and have some responsibilities for Seminar.

Selected Publications

Lepore, B.J., J.M. Norman, B. Lowery, and K.R. Brye. 2011. Soil compaction and collection efficiency loss in long-term equilibrium tension lysimeter installations. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. (In press).

Flores-Mangual, M.L., B. Lowery, J.G. Bockheim, and P.H. Pagliari. 2011. A revised water drop method for assessing soil water repellency. Soil Sci. (In press).

Soldat, D.J., B. Lowery, and W.R. Kussow. 2010. Surfactants increase uniformity of soil water content and reduce water repellency on sand-based golf putting greens. Soil Sci. 175:111-117

Jimba, S.C., and B. Lowery. 2010. Automation of the water-drop method for soil aggregate stability analysis. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 74:38-41.

Scharenbroch, B.C., M. Flores, B. Lepore, J.G. Bockheim, and B. Lowery. 2010. Tree encroachment and organic matter dynamics in a remnant dry prairie in the Lower Wisconsin River Valley, WI, USA. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 74:956-968.

Lowery B., C. Cox, D. Lemke, P. Nowak, K. Olson, and J. Strock. 2009. The 2008 Midwest flooding impact on soil erosion and water quality: Implications for soil erosion control practices. J. Soil Water Conserv. 64:166A (Feature article).

Cooley, E.T., B. Lowery, K. A. Kelling, P.E. Speth, F.W. Madison, W.L. Bland, and A. Tapsieva. 2009. Surfactant use to improve soil water distribution and reduce nitrate leaching in potatoes. Soil Sci. 174:321-329.

Arriaga, F.J., B. Lowery, and K. A. Kelling. 2009. Surfactant impact on nitrogen utilization and leaching in potatoes. Am. J. Potato Research. 86:383-390.

Kang, S.J., H. Lin, W.J. Gburek, G.J. Folmar, and B. Lowery. 2008. Baseflow nitrate in relation to stream order and agricultural land use. J. Environ. Qual. 37:808-816.

Cooley, E.T., B. Lowery, K.A. Kelling, and S. Wilner. 2007. Water dynamics in drip and overhead sprinkler irrigated potato hills and development of dry zones. Hydrological Proc. 21:2390-2399.

Arriaga, F.J., B. Lowery, and M. D., Mays. 2007. Response to: Comments on “A fast method for determining soil particle size distribution using a laser instrument” By F.J. Arriaga, B. Lowery, and M.D. Mays. Soil Sci. 171:663-674 (2006). Soil Sci. 172:416-418.

Dobrahner, J., B. Lowery, and J.G. Iyer. 2007. Slow release fertilization reduces nitrate leaching in bareroot production of pinus strobus seedlings. Soil Sci. 172:252-255.

Arriaga, F.J., B. Lowery, and M.D. Mays. 2006. A fast method for determining soil particle size distribution using a laser instrument. Soil Sci. 171:663-674.

Arriaga, F.J., and B. Lowery. 2005. Spatial distribution of carbon over an eroded landscape in southwest Wisconsin. Soil & Tillage Res. 81:155-162.

Johnson, D.O., F.J. Arriaga, and B. Lowery. 2005. Automation of a falling head permeameter for rapid determination of hydraulic conductivity of multiple samples. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 69:828-833.

Starr, G.C., E.T. Cooley, B. Lowery, and K.A. Kelling. 2005. Soil water fluctuations in a loamy sand under irrigated potato. Soil Sci. 170:77-89.

Zhu, J., C.L.S. Morgan, J.M. Norman, W. Yue, and B. Lowery. 2004. Combined mapping of soil properties using a multi-scale tree-structured spatial model. Geoderma 118:321-334.

Arriaga, F.J., and B. Lowery. 2004. Soil physical properties and corn yield of an eroded soil as affected by long-term cattle manure applications. Soil Sci. 168:888-889.

Morgan, C.L.S., J.M. Norman, C.C. Molling, K. McSweeney, and B. Lowery. 2003. Evaluating soil data from several sources using a landscape model. p. 243-260. In Y. Pachepsky, D.E. Radcliffe and H.M. Selim (eds.) Scaling Methods in Soil Physics. CRC Press, NY.

Arriaga, F.J., and B. Lowery. 2003. Erosion and productivity. p. 222-224. In B.A. Stewart and T. Howell (eds.) Encyclopedia of water science. Marcel Dekker, Inc., NY.

Arriaga, F.J., and B. Lowery. 2003. Corn production on an eroded soil: effects of total rainfall and soil water storage. Soil & Tillage Res. 71:87-93.

Morgan, C.L.S., J.M. Norman, and B. Lowery. 2003. Estimating plant-available water across a field with an inverse yield model. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 67:620-629.

Lowery, B., and J.E. Morrison, Jr. 2002. Soil penetrometers and penetrability. p. 363-388. In J.H. Dane and G.C. Topp (eds). Methods of soil analysis Part 4: Physical methods. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. Book Series 5. Madison, WI.

Grunwald, S., D.J. Rooney, K. McSweeney, and B. Lowery. 2001. Development of pedotransfer functions for a profile cone penetrometer. Geoderma 100:25-47.

Park, S.J., K. McSweeney, and B. Lowery. 2001. Identification of the spatial distribution of soils using a process-based terrain characterization. Geoderma 103:249-272.

Grunwald, S., B. Lowery, D.J. Rooney, and K. McSweeney. 2001. Profile cone penetrometer data used to distinguish between soil materials. Soil & Tillage Res. 62:27-40.

Starr, G.C., B. Lowery, and E.T. Cooley. 2000. Soil water content determination using a network analyzer and coaxial probe. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 64:867-872.

Starr, G.C., P.Barak, B. Lowery, and M. Avila-Segura. 2000. Soil particle concentrations and size analysis using a dielectric method. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 64:858-866.

Clay, S.A., R.H. Dowdy, J.A. Lamb, J.L. Anderson, B. Lowery, R.E. Knighton, and D.E. Clay 2000. Herbicide movement and dissipation at four Midwestern sites. J. Environmental Science and Health, part B. 35:259-278.

Rooney D., and B. Lowery. 2000. A profile cone penetrometer for mapping soil horizons. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 64:2136-2139.

Grunwald, S., P. Barak, K. McSweeney, and B. Lowery. 2000. Soil landscape models at different scales portrayed in Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML). Soil Sci. 165:598-615.

Grunwald S., D.J. Rooney, K. McSweeney, and B. Lowery. 2000. Development of pedotransfer functions for a profile cone penetrometer. Geoderma 100:25-47.

Starr, G.C., B. Lowery, E.T. Cooley, and G.L. Hart. 1999. Development of a resonant length technique for soil water content measurement. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 63:278-285.

Starr, G.C., B. Lowery, E.T. Cooley, and G.L. Hart. 1999. Soil water content determination using a network analyzer reflectometry methods. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 63:285-289.

Hart, G.L., and G. Lowery. 1998. Measuring instantaneous solute flux and loading with time domain reflectometry. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 62:23-35.

Wang, D., S.R. Yates, B. Lowery, and M.Th. van Genuchten. 1998. Estimating soil hydraulic properties using tension infiltrometers with varying disk diameters. Soil Science. 163:356-361.

Lowery, B., R.C. Hartwig, D.E. Stoltenberg, K.J. Fermanich, and, K. McSweeney. 1998. Groundwater quality and crop-yield responses to tillage management on a Sparta sand. Soil Tillage Res. 48:225-237.

Hart, G.L., and B. Lowery. 1997. Partitioned flow domains of three Wisconsin soils. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 60:1686-1696.

Hanson, J.E., D.E. Stoltenberg, B. Lowery, and L.K. Binning. 1997. Influence of application rate on atrazine fate in a silt loam soil. J. Environ. Qual. 26:829-835.

Azooz, R.H., B. Lowery, T.C. Daniel, and M.A. Arshad. 1997. Impact of tillage and residue management on soil heat flux. Agric. Forest Meteorol. 84:207-222.

Hart, G.L., and B. Lowery. 1997. Analysis of the axial-radial influence of porous cup soil solution samplers in a sandy soil. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 61:1765-1773.

Wang, D., B. Lowery, J.M. Norman, and K. McSweeney. 1996. Ant burrow effect on water flow and soil hydraulic properties of Sparta sand. Soil Tillage Res. 37:83-93.

Wang, D., B. Lowery, K. McSweeney, and J.M. Norman. 1996. Spatial and temporal patterns of ant burrow openings in an agricultural landscape. Pedobiologia 40:201-211.

Fermanich, K.J., W.L. Bland, B. Lowery, and K. McSweeney. 1996. Irrigation and tillage effects on atrazine and atrazine metabolite flux below the root zone of a sandy soil. J. Environ. Qual. 25:1291-1299.

Azooz, R.H., B. Lowery, and T.C. Daniel. 1995. Tillage and residue management influence on corn growth. Soil Tillage Res. 33:215-227.

Lowery, B., J. Swan, T. Schumacher, and A. Jones. 1995. Physical properties of selected soils by erosion class. J. Soil Water Conserv. 50:306-311.

Lowery, B., and W.E. Larson. 1995. Symposium: Erosion impact on soil productivity; Preamble. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 59:647-648.

Wang, D., K. McSweeney, B. Lowery, and J.M. Norman. 1995. Nest structure of ant Lasius neoniger Emery and its implications to soil modification. Geoderma 66:259-272.

McGuire, P.E., and B. Lowery. 1994. Monitoring drainage solution concentration and solute flux in unsaturated soil with a porous cup sampler and soil moisture sensors. Ground Water 32:356-362.

Lowery, B., and R.T. Schuler. 1994. Duration and effects of compaction on soil and plant growth in Wisconsin. Soil Tillage Res. 29:205-210.

Wang, D., J.M. Norman, B. Lowery, and K. McSweeney. 1994. Nondestructive determination of hydrogeometrical characteristics of soil macropores. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 58:294-303.

Seybold, C.A., K. McSweeney, and B. Lowery. 1994. Atrazine adsorption in sandy soils of Wisconsin. J. Environ. Qual. 23:1291-1297.

Hart, G.L., B. Lowery, K.J. Fermanich, and K. McSweeney. 1994. In-situ characterization of hydrologic properties of Sparta sand: relation to solute movement. Geoderma 64:41-55.

Wietersen, R.C., T.C. Daniel, K.J. Fermanich, B.D. Girard, K. McSweeney, and B. Lowery. 1993. Atrazine, alachlor, and metolachlor mobility through two sandy Wisconsin soils. J. Environ. Qual. 22:811-818.

Wietersen, R.C., T.C. Daniel, K.J. Fermanich, B. Lowery, and K. McSweeney. 1993. Irrigation and polymer effects on herbicide transport through the unsaturated zone of a Sparta sand. J. Environ. Qual. 22:819-824.

McGuire, P.E., B. Lowery, and P.A. Helmke. 1992. Potential sampling error: Trace metal adsorption on vacuum porous cup samplers. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 56:74-82.

Andraski, B.J., and B. Lowery. 1992. Erosion effects on soil water storage, plant water uptake and corn growth. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 56:1911-1919.

McGuire, P.E., and B. Lowery. 1992. Evaluation of several vacuum solution samplers in sand and silt loam at several water potentials. Ground Water Monitor. Rev. 12:151-160.

Datiri, B.C., and B. Lowery. 1991. Tillage effects on rain generated wetting front migration through a Griswold silt loam soil. Soil Tillage Res. 21:243-256.

Datiri, B.C., and B. Lowery. 1991. Effects of conservation tillage on hydraulic properties of a Griswold silt loam soil. Soil Tillage Res. 21:257-271.

Gupta, S.C., B. Lowery, J.F. Moncrief, and W.E. Larson. 1991. Modeling tillage effects on soil properties. Soil Tillage Res. 20:293-318.

Lowery, B., and R.T. Schuler. 1991. Temporal effects of subsoil compaction on soil strength and plant growth. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 55:216-223.

Fermanich, K.J., T.C. Daniel, and B. Lowery. 1991. Microlysimeter soil columns for evaluating pesticide movement through the root zone. J. Environ. Qual. 20:189-195.

Lowery, B., and R.T. Schuler. 1991. Temporal effects of subsoil compaction on soil strength and plant growth. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 55:216-223.

Datiri, B.C., and B. Lowery. 1991. Effects of conservation tillage on hydraulic properties of a Griswold silt loam soil. Soil Tillage Res. 21:257-271.

Datiri, B.C., and B. Lowery. 1991. Tillage effects on rain generated wetting front migration through a griswold silt loam soil. Soil Tillage Res. 21:243-256.

Morrison, R.D., and B. Lowery. 1990. The effect of cup properties, sampler geometry, and vacuum on the sampling rate of a porous cup sampler. Soil Sci. 149:308-316.

Morrison, R.D., and B. Lowery. 1990. Sampling radius of a porous cup sampler: experimental results. Ground Water 28:262-267.

Larney, F.J., R.L. Huffman, R.T. Schuler, D.R Taylor, E.J. Kladivko, and B. Lowery. 1989. A portable, self-leveling, constant-rate cone penetrometer with computer- controlled data acquisition for tillage studies. Soil Tillage Res. 14:231-239.

Hilfiker, R.E., and B. Lowery. 1988. Effect of conservation tillage systems on corn root growth. Soil Tillage Res. 12:269-283.

Al-Darby, A.M., B. Lowery, and T.C. Daniel. 1987. Corn leaf water potential and water use efficiency under three conservation tillage systems. Soil Tillage Res. 9:241-254.

Al-Darby, A.M., and B. Lowery. 1987. Seed zone soil temperature and early corn growth with three conservation tillage systems. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 51:768-774.

Lowery, B. 1986. A portable constant-rate cone penetrometer. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 50:412-414.

Lowery, B., B.C. Datiri, and B.J. Andraski. 1986. A continuous recording system for tensiometers. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 50: 494-496.

Al-Darby, A.M., and B. Lowery. 1986. Evaluation of corn (Zea mays L.) growth with three conservation tillage systems. Agron. J. 78:901-907.

Wei, Q.F., B. Lowery, and A.E. Peterson. 1985. Effect of sludge application on physical properties of a silty clay loam soil. J. Environ. Qual. 14:178-180.

Johnson, M.D., and B. Lowery. 1985. Effect of conservation tillage practices on soil temperature and thermal properties. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 49:1547-1552.

Andraski, B.J., T.C. Daniel, B. Lowery, and D.H. Mueller. 1985. Runoff results from natural and simulated rainfall for four tillage systems. Trans. ASAE 28:1219-1225.

Lowery, B., T.M. Lillesand, D.H. Mueller, P. Weiler, F.L. Scarpace, and T.C. Daniel. 1984. Quantitative determination of crop residue using a microdensitometer. J. Soil Water Conserv. 39:402- 403.

Johnson, M.D., B. Lowery, and T.C. Daniel. 1984. Soil moisture regimes of three conservation tillage systems. Trans. ASAE 27:1385-1390, 1395.

Lowery, B., G.F. Kling, and J.A. Vomocil. 1981. Overland flow from sloping land: Effects of perched water tables and subsurface drains. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 46:93-99.

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