Source: NEW MEXICO STATE UNIVERSITY submitted to
IMPROVING THE SOIL QUALITY OF NEW MEXICO AND ARID LAND SOILS
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
TERMINATED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0187231
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
NM-1-5-27448
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Oct 1, 2000
Project End Date
Sep 30, 2005
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
Ulery, A. L.
Recipient Organization
NEW MEXICO STATE UNIVERSITY
1620 STANDLEY DR ACADEMIC RESH A RM 110
LAS CRUCES,NM 88003-1239
Performing Department
AGRONOMY & HORTICULTURE
Non Technical Summary
Water is a limited resource in New Mexico and must be managed wisely for both urban and agricultural uses. On the other hand, dairy manure is plentiful in the agricultural regions of our state and must be disposed of safely. Animal manure tends to be salty, but is also a potentially good source of nutrients and organic matter, which can improve many soil properties. The purpose of this research is to combine management, technology and soil chemistry to utilize both scarce (water) and plentiful (manure) resources to increase crop yields and improve land use and environmental quality.
Animal Health Component
70%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
30%
Applied
70%
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
1030110200020%
1031461200020%
1031499200020%
1020790200010%
1021499200010%
1010790200010%
1011499200010%
Goals / Objectives
(1) Measure salt tolerance and nutrient interactions of chile peppers. (2) Define and assess soil quality along the lower Rio Grande in New Mexico. (3) Quantify the effects of irrigation and various amendments on soil quality in arid regions.
Project Methods
Greenhouse and field studies will be conducted to evaluate the effects of various amendments and treatments on soil salinity, crop yield, and soil quality. For Objective 1: We will test the hypothesis that N fertilization at optimal and sub-optimal levels may ameliorate the deleterious effects of salts on the growth and yield of potted chile pepper plants. Plant growth and yield response to salinity at three levels of inorganic N fertilization will be determined. Soil water potential will be closely monitored and maintained above -0.045 MPa. Response variables will include chile plant dry weight, leaf area, fresh pod yield, number of pods per plant, pungency of the pod, and concentration of macronutrients and Na, Cl, and Zn in the leaf tissue. Plant growth and yield response to salinity induced by several levels of manure and compost application will be measured. Greenhouse and field studies will be conducted using a variety of crops to test the hypothesis that organic matter alleviates the negative effects of salinity. The specific methods will be similar to those described above. Manure and composts varying in salinity and nutrient levels will be used in the study with the goal to determine optimum loading rates and management practices for New Mexico agricultural systems. For Objective 2: Both inherent and dynamic (subject to management practices) soil quality properties of relatively low-use rangeland (including exclusion zones) and intensively farmed lands along the Rio Grande will be described and compared. Parameters to be described for specific areas will include soil productivity (yield per area and as a function of inputs), land use, nutrient levels, soil organic matter, salinity, pH, and plant species diversity. For Objective 3: Comparisons of archived soil samples to current field conditions, and nonirrigated soils to nearby irrigated soils, will allow measurement of nutrient levels, salts and sodicity, pH, organic matter content, aggregation, and other measures of soil quality. The differences in various soil chemical properties observed between irrigated and nonirrigated arid land soils will be further explored and investigated in greenhouse, laboratory, and field studies at NMSU and on private farms. Field and greenhouse measurements of soil quality will be conducted using the NRCS Soil Quality Institute's field kit and guidelines. Total soil organic matter will be measured as a function of management history and other soil properties such as texture, structure, and mineralogy. Changes in soil properties and apparent quality will be compared to crop yields over time if possible, as well as incidence of diseases, changes in plant population, diversity, and density, or other measures of productivity. One of the goals of this study will be to quantify changes in soil carbon, whether organic (as humus or SOM) or inorganic (as carbonates) as a function of irrigation and land management.

Progress 10/01/00 to 09/30/05

Outputs
We completed greenhouse studies comparing the effects of liquid organic and inorganic fertilizers on chile pepper growth, quality, and yield. One MS student graduated in 2005 after conducting lab and greenhouse research on phytoremediation of uranium-contaminated arid zone soil. Interdisciplinary research investigating the effects of manure, coal combustion byproducts, and other amendments on soil properties continued and was published.

Impacts
Application of dairy wastes to rangeland will increase soil salinity, but reduce soil erosion, influence the growth of some noxious weeds, and minimize landfill overloading. In studying soil salinity and fertilizer interactions, we hope to decrease the over-application of fertilizers and thus reduce groundwater contamination by nitrates. Improving soil quality directly translates to the improved capacity of a soil to store and immobilize wastes including radioactive, toxic, and biohazard. Better soils will release fewer toxins to the atmosphere, groundwater, and plants or animals living in the soil. The quality of food will improve along with the quality of soil.

Publications

  • Stavast, L.J., T.T. Baker, A.L. Ulery, R.P. Flynn, M.K. Wood, and D.S. Cram. 2005. New Mexico blue grama rangeland response to dairy manure application. Rangeland Ecology & Management. 58:423-429.


Progress 01/01/04 to 12/31/04

Outputs
We continued greenhouse studies to compare the effects of liquid organic and inorganic fertilizers on chile growth, quality, and yield. One PhD student and one MS student graduated in 2004 after including research on dairy manure application to arid lands for the purposes of enhanced phytoremediation and metal immobilization. Appropriate preservation of soil and wastewater samples is an issue in field studies and our work detailing the proper amount of sulfuric acid to use in a dairy wastewater sample was published this year. Cooperative research in salinity and sodicity effects on a variety of crops and soil properties also continued and were published in one peer-reviewed journal article and a proceedings (See Products). Characterization of mineral weathering products from mining and military applications in arid zones has an important impact on soil and environmental quality as well as security issues. We found that copper mine tailings were not effective as a potential iron fertilizer in calcareous arid zone soils. Collaboration with researchers at UNLV showed that depleted uranium penetrators at a target site in the Southwestern US corroded to form schoepite and metaschoepite. Under current site conditions the mobility and health risks of the uranium are minimal.

Impacts
Using dairy wastes as a resource applied to agricultural and mining properties will help reduce landfill overloading while potentially remediating the soil and improving soil quality by the addition of organic matter. In studying soil salinity and fertilizer interactions, we hope to decrease the over-application of fertilizers and thus reduce groundwater contamination by nitrates. Improving soil quality directly translates to the improved capacity of a soil to store wastes including radioactive, toxic, and biohazard. Better soils will release fewer toxins to the atmosphere, groundwater, and plants or animals living in the soil. The quality of food will improve along with the quality of soil.

Publications

  • Ulery, A.L., R. Flynn, and R. Parra. 2004. Dairy Wastewater Sample Preservation Using Sulfuric Acid. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. 95:117-124.
  • Picchioni, G.A., C.J. Graham, and A.L. Ulery. 2004. Gypsum effects on growth and macroelement accumulation of field-grown Asimina triloba (Pawpaw) irrigated with low-saline, sodic water. HortScience. 39:1104-1109.
  • Buck, B.J., A.L. Brock, W.H. Johnson, and A.L. Ulery. 2004. Corrosion of depleted uranium in an arid environment: Soil-geomorphology, SEM/EDS, XRD, and electron microprobe analyses. Soil & Sediment Contamination. 13:545-561.
  • Mexal, J.G., C.L. Falk, A. Ulery, G. Picchioni, R. Ng, C. Taylor, and A. Hagen. 2004. Iron-Rich Mine Tailings Fail to Perform as Fertilizer: An Economic Development Model. In: M. Wilken-Robertson (Ed.) The U.S.-Mexican Border Environment. San Diego State University Press. San Diego, CA. pp. 139-170.
  • Hashimoto, Y., Blaylock, M.J., Elless, M.P. and Ulery, A.L. 2004. Chelate-enhanced phytoextraction of uranium-contaminated soils by high biomass plants. In: Mihara, M., and Yamaji, E. (Eds). Participatory Strategy for Soil and Water Conservation. Soubun Co. Ltd. Tokyo, Japan. pp. 137-140.
  • Fiore, C., J. Schroeder, R. Sanderson, A. Ulery, L. Murray, L. DeMouche, S. Schuster. 2004. Can soil characteristics be used to predict weed species along the irrigation canals in southern New Mexico? Proceedings, Western Society of Weed Science 57:36-37.


Progress 01/01/03 to 12/31/03

Outputs
Our greenhouse studies have shown that increased ammonium nitrate fertilizers can exacerbate soil salinity and reduce chile pepper yield. Continued greenhouse studies are comparing organic and inorganic fertilizers and their effects on chile growth and yield. Dairy manure application to arid rangeland resulted in reduced runoff and soil erosion, but increased soil salinity, and possibly decreased vegetation diversity. The application of manure to depleted uranium contaminated soils apparently immobilizes the metal and makes it less available for phytoremediation and plant uptake.

Impacts
Using dairy wastes as a resource applied to agricultural and mining properties will help reduce landfill overloading while potentially remediating the soil and improving soil quality by the addition of organic matter. In studying soil salinity and fertilizer interactions, we hope to decrease the over-application of fertilizers and thus reduce groundwater contamination by nitrates. Improving soil quality directly translates to the improved capacity of a soil to store wastes including radioactive, toxic, and biohazard. Better soils will release fewer toxins to the atmosphere, groundwater, and plants or animals living in the soil. The quality of food will improve along with the quality of soil.

Publications

  • Villa-Castorena, M., A.L. Ulery, E. Catalan, and M. Remmenga. 2003. Salinity and nitrogen effects on chile pepper growth and yield. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 67:1781-1789.
  • Sevostianova, E.B, W.C. Lindemann, and A.L. Ulery. 2003. Plant uptake of uranium in manure and citric acid amended soil. Presented at the Soil Science Society of America annual meetings, Denver, CO Nov. 2-6, 2003.


Progress 01/01/02 to 12/31/02

Outputs
We conducted experiments to evaluate the effects of various amendments on soil salinity, crop yield, and soil quality. In the field we compared nutrient levels in soils that were subjected to different uses and management. We looked at the effects of manure additions to soil as well as the control of certain soil properties by the parent material mineralogy and geology.

Impacts
Soil quality affects agriculture and environmental waste management - too issues that are extremely important in the state of New Mexico as well as worldwide. An overall improvement in soil quality translates to better farming and a healthier environment, thus in money terms, this research is worth millions of dollars to the state of New Mexico alone.

Publications

  • Ulery, A.L. 2002. Amorphous Minerals. In: Lal, R. (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Soil Science. Marcel Dekker, Inc. P. 56-59.
  • Reid, D.A. and A.L. Ulery. 2002. Environmental Applications of Smectites. In: Dixon et al. (Eds) Environmental Soil Mineralogy. Soil Science Society of America. P. 467-499.
  • Wellman, D.E., A.L. Ulery, M.P. Barcellona, and S. Duerr-Auster. 2001. Animal waste-enhanced degradation of hydrocarbon-contaminated soil. Soil & Sediment Contamination. 10:511-523.


Progress 01/01/01 to 12/31/01

Outputs
We conducted experiments to evaluate the effects of various amendments on soil salinity, crop yield, and soil quality. In the field we compared nutrient levels in soils that were subjected to different uses and management. We looked at the effects of manure additions to soil as well as the control of certain soil properties by the parent material mineralogy and geology.

Impacts
Improving soil quality directly translates to the improved capacity of a soil to store wastes including radioactive, toxic, and biohazard. Better soils will release fewer toxins to the atmosphere, groundwater, and plants or animals living in the soil. The quality of food will improve along with the quality of soil.

Publications

  • Flynn, R., A.L. Ulery, and Y. Lamm. 2001. Compost-enhanced Remediation of Arsenic- and Lead-Contaminated Soil. Presented to the Western Nutrient Management Conference, Salt Lake City, Mar 8-9, 2001.


Progress 01/01/00 to 12/31/00

Outputs
We conducted greenhouse experiments to measure the response of chile pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) plants to multiple levels of nitrogen fertilization and salinity. This experiment was funded in part by the New Mexico Chile Commission to aid in the development of better management practices in the chile industry. Results from our first year of experiments indicate that the highest chile yields were achieved in treatments with low salinity and moderate nitrogen application (120 kg N per ha). This fertilization rate would be equivalent to about 107 lbs of N per acre or 324 lbs of ammonium nitrate per acre. Yields did not increase at higher nitrogen application rates, in fact increasing the fertilizer amount raised the salinity of the soil, increased the susceptibility to some diseases, and decreased yields.

Impacts
Soil salinity is detrimental to all crop growth and is particularly bad for chile peppers which are moderately sensitive. Salinity builds up in irrigated soils and requires careful management including periodic leaching of the salts below the root zone. Large quantities of water are sometimes needed to leach salts through the soil but competition for water from domestic and industrial users may limit its availability for agricultural uses. Excessive fertilizer use can also increase soil salinity as measured by electrical conductivity. Thus, soil salinity may be an increasing problem for chile growers in New Mexico. Chile peppers account for about 36% of New Mexico's vegetable crop average but little is known about nitrogen management on saline soils. Increasing or decreasing the amount of fertilizer applied may affect plant response to salinity.

Publications

  • Ulery, A.L. and A.J. Tugel. 1999. Farming In New Mexico: Soil Quality and Productivity Maintainance. In: E.A. Herrera and J.G. Mexal (Eds.) Ensuring Sustainable Development of Arid Lands. New Mexico J. Science. 39:86-108.
  • Villa-Castorena, M, A.L. Ulery, and E. Catalan-Valencia. 2000. Salinity and nitrogen effects on nutrient uptake by chile pepper plants. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meetings, Minneapolis, Nov. 2000. Agron. Abst. p.275.