Managed agro-ecosystems create an environment where sustaining plant/crop productivity requires nutrient management. In sustainable cropping systems, nutrient management typically involves the use of synthetic fertilizer materials, but also incorporates other management practices such as cover cropping and the use of bio-based fertilizers like manures and composts. Nutrient management research involves developing testing strategies to determine if nutrients are present in sufficient qualities for the cropping system. When a nutrient needs to be supplemented, nutrient management research identifies alternative strategies for soil amendments to maintain economically and environmentally sustainable agro-ecosystems.
Located at WSU’s Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser, Washington, my research team works on soil fertility and plant nutrient management, including irrigation water needs, for the diverse cropping systems in this region, with an emphasis on speciality crops.
Dave Huggins is Director of the Cook Agronomy Farm Long-Term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) site and Co-Director of the Pacific Northwest Climate Hub. His research is in the area of Conservation Farming and Agroecology focusing on nitrogen use efficiency, carbon sequestration and overall agroecosystem performance.
I conduct work at the interface between crops and soils at rhizosphere and cropping systems levels the Nutrient Cycling and Rhizosphere Ecology Analytics, Technology and Education (NCREATE) team. We digitally image root rhizospheres and we track nutrient use and cycling of crops in rotations to better inform nutrient management recommendations, which we extend to student and farming communities.
My research focuses on soil fertility and best nutrient management practices for optimum crop yield and economic returns, while aware of environmental concerns.