Agronomic Field ResearchWritten by Dr. Elmer Gray
Agronomy Faculty and Students are actively involved in research on a variety of crop and soil projects. An ongoing cooperative research project with USDA-ARS involves poultry litter waste used as a fertilizer for growing field and forage crops. After several years of annual application of poultry litter to the soil, a remediation study was superimposed to soils containing high accumulations of nutrients. Interactions of crops with different amounts of applied liter are a specific interest as indications of efficient waste utilization.
Responses of corn hybrids to population densities continue to be a major research area. Strategic hybrids, plant populations, and environments are utilized in obtaining critical grain and forage yield data for use in developing and testing mathematical models for predicting yields.
Agronomy and Horticulture faculty and students are jointly involved in two major projects. First, baby corn production is being evaluated as a potential cash crop for Kentucky. Corn varieties, planting populations, and harvesting frequencies are being studies. The second joint project, which also involved the University of Kentucky Agriculture Extension Service, consists of tomato production for the fresh market. Factors being researched include comparisons or organic and inorganic soil amendments, black and red colored plastic mulches, heirloom and hybrid varieties, and reciprocal scion and root grafts between varieties.
A new endeavor is the establishment of a grape vineyard as a first step in assessing the suitability of grape production in South Central Kentucky.