A&E Student Presents Research at Professional Meeting

corn research project

Covering 13 states, from Texas to the Carolinas and from Kentucky to the Gulf Coast, SAAS (Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists) acts as an umbrella organization facilitating a joint meeting of the southern branches of the various agricultural sciences; including Agronomy, Horticulture, Animal Science, Ag. Education, Ag. Communication, Ag. Economics, and Rural Sociology. The 2007 meeting was held in Mobile Alabama. Dr. Kent Gallaher coauthored a paper with Mrs. Bethany Dru Stevens, senior Agribusiness major from Texico, New Mexico, and Dr. R. Noel Gallaher, Professor, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, the University of Florida, entitled Composted Cattle Manure Effects Corn Yield and Soil Properties (abstract below).  

Additionally, Mrs. Stevens participated in the agronomy section student poster competition. She was the only undergraduate in the competition and went "head to head' with MS and PhD students from such schools as LSU, Auburn, Mississippi State, Alabama A&M, and North Carolina A&T, just to name a few. Although she did not win the competition, she represented ACU with distinction, impressing not only her fellow competitors but also research scientists at several large land grant universities. In fact, she was aggressively recruited for a graduate research assistantship in agronomy at Mississippi State University. Congratulations to Dru Stevens for a successful debut at her first professional meeting!

Composted Cattle Manure Affects Corn Yield and Soil Properties
K. Gallaher1, B.D. Stevens1, and R.N. Gallaher2 

1. Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas, 2. Agronomy Department, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 
Abstract Studies were conducted in 2005 and 2006 at Abilene Christian University's Rhoden Field Laboratory to determine the effect of composted cattle manure on corn yield and soil fertility. Treatments were based on compost nitrogen content and simulated the addition of fertilizer treatments of 0, 120, 240, 360, and 480 Kg N ha-1. The study site was a Leeray Clay (fine montmorillonitic, thermic Thypic Chromusterts). In each year, Initial soil nutrient, pH, cation exchange capacity, and organic matter content data were collected prior to compost application. Yield data and final soil samples were collected at the end of the study period. Yield was 5.6, 4.6, 5.8, 7.2, and 10.7 Mg ha-1 in 2005 (P=.001669) and 0.3, 0.5, 1.4, 1.9, and 3.3 Mg ha-1 in 2006 (P=.00000145) for the compost treatments corresponding to 0, 120, 240, 360, and 480 kg N ha-1 respectively. For the 2005 data, although a yield trend relative to rate was indicated, LSD (3.8 Mg ha-1) only confirmed one true rate difference; the 480 kg N ha-1 rate produced significantly higher yields than the other treatments. Although yields were much lower in 2006 than in 2005, there were greater differences between treatment means (LSD 1.0 Mg ha-1), demonstrating a clear treatment effect on crop yield. Soil data from 2005 and 2006 demonstrated a close correlation between compost treatments and corresponding increases in soil nitrogen and organic matter. This research supports the use of composted cattle manure to increase corn yield and improve soil fertility.  

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