Honors Intro – Alvand Azimi

Alvand Azimi is currently studying for his Honors degree in the field of Agricultural Science, focusing on Soil Science at Lincoln University.

“I was born in New Zealand but do not come from a farming background, I have worked on various farms since 2013. My knowledge of New Zealand farming is broad and I am majoring in pedology, with minors in agronomy and animal science. I am currently working on my disertation, where I am assessing controlled release of nitrogen (N) fertilizer (Smartfert) from Bruce Smith at (Eko360 ltd). I have completed 10 weeks of summer work on sheep and beef, dairy and deer farms, with labour contributions to other farms whilst completing my academic career.

I am also working on another project, where I am quantifying the N absorption capacity of wood chips from multiple tree species. This research aims to use carbonaceous substrates as an alternative to engineered standoff pads, by using waste wood products to collect cattle bio-solids.”

Summer Research

‘Nitrogen loss from excreta can be controlled to an extent by using stand-off pads surfaced with wood materials. Most types of wood materials are suitable to be used as a stand-off base (DairyNZ, 2017). The most abundant being derived from radiata pine tree (Pinus radiata), which has been introduced for timber in New Zealand, where it is the most common tree (Knowles et al, 2010). Some hardwood sawdust produce splinters, which can damage cattle teats and skin making it unfavorable (DairyNZ, 2017). Most cows will lie down sooner on softer surfaces compared to harder surfaces and are reluctant to lie down on wet surfaces. Woodchip surfaces are the best for standoff surface material, largely due to softness and high moisture absorbance. Dairy NZ (2017) recommends to apply 40-50cm layer of woodchips over the standoff surface. The effectiveness of woodchips to absorb water and solute is little understood. Therefore an experiment was conducted to identify absorption of water applied onto woodchips, by measuring leached drained from woodchips.

The objectives of this research project was to set up a uniform experiment to determine the saturation point and drainage of dried woodchips. The effectiveness of woodchips to absorb water and solute is little understood. Therefore a uniform experiment was conducted using woodchips which were chipped from pine (Pinus. Radiata), willow (Salix. Caprea & Matsudana) and poplar (Populus. Euramericana & Deltoides). All chips were packed into columns exactly at 40cm (4760g) on top of a 10cm (5450g) soil layer. The control were columns without woodchips. Once the experiment was prepared, water was applied as a burst application 500ml/hr/column for 5hrs, afterwards applications changed to two 250ml/hr applications per day. Results from the 5 hour burst applications at 500ml exceeded the infiltration capacity of the 10cm soil layer, this was identified by a ponding effect in the control, hence applications were adjusted to two 250ml/day. The water holding capacity of woodchip treatments was greater than the control.’

PhD Intro – Carolina Lizarralde

Carolina Lizarralde is currently studying for her PhD degree in the field of Soil Science at Lincoln University. Professors Richard McDowell, Leo Condron and Dr. Jeff Brown are supervising this research.
“I was born in Montevideo, the capital city from Uruguay. However, most of my childhood holidays were spent on my family’s farm and I always looked forward to go there. I enjoyed being in direct contact with nature, and from a young age I loved learning everything I could about farming systems. So, I decided to do a Bachelor in Agriculture and afterwards a Master in Animal Science, both of them from the School of Agriculture, University of Uruguay. Once I finished my studies I started working on a research institute, also in Uruguay, as an assistant researcher on water quality. I found  this topic really interesting and my desire to keep on learning motivates me to do my PhD.
My PhD project is about “Methods to mitigate the water quality impact from high phosphorus soils receiving dairy factory wastewater”. I am finding this project very interesting and challenging. “

PhD Intro – Camille Rousset

Camille Rousset is currently studying for an Honours degree in the field of Soil Science at Lincoln University. Prof. Tim Clough is supervising her research.

I grew up in a countryside in the southwest of France near Bordeaux named Bourg sur Gironde. My home is surrounded by the most famous type of Agriculture of the region, viticulture, on which it built its reputation and which results in the production of one of the best drink ever: wine.

My education career has always been oriented towards environmental and agronomy sciences; I completed my bachelor degree at Bordeaux University on biology of organisms and environment. After that, I did a master degree in Paris in Agroecology where I learned the different ways of designing production systems that rely on the functionalities offered by ecosystems. It was through those 2 years that I turned to the question of environmental effects of agriculture, thanks to lessons, professors, internships and all the people that I had the opportunity to meet.

Agroecology techniques and knowledge, is also a social movement and I want to be part of it. It is so exciting to see more and more farmers and scientists getting engaged to find solutions for an agricultural system that is more respectful of people and the environment.

Camille & Trial

Without being able to become a farmer at the moment (it may happen one day) and because I have always been attracted by the research community, I started research on SOIL, the “agriculture pillar”, without which agriculture would have been unthinkable. I am currently doing a PhD in N2O (greenhouse gas) emissions from arable soil, a subject that I started to deal with during a 6 month internship in Scotland at the James Hutton Institute. I will try through this 3 next years to find answers to mitigate N2O emissions by optimizing irrigation management. I am hoping, with farmers’ collaborations, to find fertilizer and irrigation strategies to limit the N2O emissions and find a tool that they can easily used to better control these inputs.

It’s going to be 3 exciting and intense years!!!

“Caring for the planet starts from the ground”

Keeping on the theme of todays World Soil Day, “Caring for the planet starts from the ground”. Are we actually caring for our soil?

There have been a few articles recently discussing this topic, both nationally and internationally, from the UK, USA and our productive soils around Auckland being lost to subdivisons? What do you think?

A continuing theme of articles:

Only 60 Years of Farming Left If Soil Degradation Continues – Scientific American

UK is 30-40 years away from ‘eradication of soil fertility’, warns Gove  – The Guardian, UK

Report adds fuel to soil protection calls – FarmersWeekly NZ

Lets keep the conversation going, grow soil awareness!

World Soil Day

Happy World Soil Day!

Today is World Soil Day. http://www.fao.org/world-soil-day/en/ with this year’s theme being “Caring for the planet starts from the ground”

“The Global Soil Partnership is dedicating World Soil Day 2017 to the theme “Caring for the Planet starts from the Ground“. Soil is a finite natural resource. On a human time-scale it is non-renewable. However, despite the essential role that soil plays in human livelihoods, there is a worldwide increase in degradation of soil resources due to inappropriate management practices, population pressure driving unsustainable intensification and inadequate governance over this essential resource.” – FAO 2017

To celebrate, here are some photos of Lincoln University Soil Students getting involved in soil science! Get your hands dirty and see what secrets your soils hold!

PhD Intro – Tihana Vujinovic

Tihana Vujinovic is currently studying for her PhD in the field of Soil Science at Lincoln University. Professor Timothy Clough, Dr Niklas Lehto, Dr Mike Beare and Dr Denis Curtin are supervising this research.

“I grew up in Croatia and completed my Master’s in Agricultural Sciences and Technologies at the University of Udine in Italy. Among a large list of topics in my area of interest and an apprentice in beekeeping, I’ve jumped into the field of soil chemistry and biochemistry with my BSc thesis, which aimed at characterizing humic fractions in leachates from soil under organic and conventional management and their interactions with the root zone. After a period spent at BOKU Vienna, where I’ve enlarged my interest in soil science, I’ve decided to pursue soil organic matter studies and work on the dynamics on nitrogen in humified fractions of agricultural soils through the use of stable isotopes for my Msc thesis.

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Currently I am all into my PhD project looking at the factors controlling dissolved organic matter formation and its role in carbon and nitrogen dynamics in agricultural soils. My study is trying to provide an insight into the mechanisms that affect DOM release and its microbial availability with respect to its physicochemical characteristics and its response to soil water content fluctuations or land management. It’s a challenging sphere where to sneak a peek.”

Soil Science Australia – 2017 Soil Judging Competition ‘Soil Crumbs’ Report

The report from the 5th Australian Soil Judging Competition has now been published on the Soil Science Australia website.

Check it out below and perhaps send a copy to your mum.

http://soilscienceaustralia.org/images/files/SoilCrumbs.pdf

Thanks again to all our wonderful sponsors and everybody that made event possible.