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morgan with soil in hand

Striking pay dirt: Cornell soil soars to the space station

Sep 25, 2020

Doctoral student Morgan Irons is about to help make space-exploration history when the soil she scooped from a Cornell farm organic plot is launched into space Sept. 29  aboard a resupply mission bound for the International Space Station (ISS).

Two men looking at exhibit

Fossilized tech depicts ‘The World After Us’

Mar 6, 2020

Alumnus Nathaniel Stern ’99 combined scientific experimentation with artistic exploration to create a traveling exhibition that envisions what our everyday electronic waste will look like millions of years in the future. He collaborated with professor Johannes Lehmann to apply pyrolysis techniques to burn and artificially age the items.

soybean plants in sunlight

Lost in translation: Organic matter cuts plant-microbe links

Jan 31, 2020

Johannes Lehmann's program together with soil scientists at Rice University have dug around and found that although adding carbon organic matter to agricultural fields is usually advantageous, it may muddle the beneficial underground communication between legume plants and microorganisms.

2019 MacDonald Musgrave Awardees

Congratulations to 2019 MacDonald-Musgrave and McClintock Awardees

Dec 16, 2019

Several awards are given out within the School of Integrative Plant Science at the end of each fall semester.  Among these are the MacDonald and Musgrave Awards, given to persons demonstrating exceptional performance and professional contributions and/or service to the disciplines of soil and crop sciences. Recipients were announced on Friday December 13.

Sunflowers in front of a tall industrial building with a blue sky behind the building.

CALS strengthens NYC connections with new grant projects

Aug 27, 2019

Three collaborative New York City-based projects, designed to inspire cross-campus research partnerships, have been awarded grant funding totaling approximately $500,000 from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Congratulations to our 2019 SIPS graduates!

May 31, 2019

Congratulations to the 36 graduate students and 58 undergraduates recognized by SIPS as part of the 2019 Commencement Ceremonies. Soil and Crop Sciences graduate students Angela Possinger and Sonam Sherpa were awarded PhDs and Sabrina Kelch received an MS, in addition to the many undergraduates with advisers and mentors in the Section.


Agronomist Madison Wright dies at 95

May 6, 2019

Madison J. Wright, professor emeritus of agronomy whose efforts helped establish soybean production in New York, died April 27 in Ithaca. He was 95.

Andrew McDonald

Meet our Faculty: Andrew McDonald

Apr 8, 2019

New faculty member Andrew McDonald is an associate professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science, Soil and Crop Sciences Section with a focus on cropping systems ecology and sustainable agricultural development.

Satellite data paints a portrait of global plant health

Oct 12, 2017

When it comes to measuring photosynthesis, green is not all that counts. A Cornell researcher is using a NASA satellite to measure photosynthesis in high resolution at the global scale, advancing how we measure plant health and its impact on food production and atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Student drawing

Art intervenes in Minns Garden

Oct 4, 2017

More than 70 Environmental and Sustainability Sciences (ESS) majors turned Minns Garden into an ephemeral art gallery Sept. 29, as part of a class led by Soil and Crop Sciences professor Johannes Lehman

Congratulations 2017 SIPS Graduates

Jun 5, 2017

Congratulations to the 15 graduate students and 36 undergraduates recognized by SIPS as part of the 2017 Commencement Ceremonies. Among these were Kiera Crowley, earning an MS in Soil and Crop Sciences.

food basket

Cornell's Innovations in Food Systems Forum Is June 7

May 9, 2017

Dig into digital agriculture, comprehend plant breeding biotechnology, and learn out how the microbiome may solve food production problems at an agricultural technology and partnership forum June 7.

Ann Bybee-Finley

Ann Bybee-Finley Named Future Leader in Science

Mar 16, 2017

Ann Bybee-Finley, a second-year doctoral student at Cornell studying cropping systems resilience with a focus on Northeastern dairy producers, has been named a 2017 Future Leader in Science.


Tulane announces five finalists for $1 million Dead Zone Challenge

Dec 7, 2016

Adapt-N, an initiative of Professor van Es, Soil and Crop Sciences, is one of the five finalists! The purpose of the challenge is to find in-field solutions to hypoxia that reduce nitrogen runoff from crop fertilizers into rivers. Such runoff from the nation's farmlands is considered the primary cause of annual dead zones. (Best of luck to the Adapt-N research team!)

Soil scientist Dawit Solomon speaks on land degradation at COP22

Nov 10, 2016

In a presentation to global leaders battling climate change and feeding a burgeoning world population, Dawit Solomon, senior research associate in the Soil and Crop Sciences section, presented food security ideas to stave off the Earth's atmospheric warming.

Grant to aid study of microbes' role in soil carbon cycle

Nov 9, 2016

A project led by Cornell researchers Dan Buckley and Johannes Lehmann, Soil and Crop Sciences section, to better understand soil microbes and their role in the carbon cycle has received a three-year, $3.59 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

SCS Professor Janice Thies to receive awards at the Tri-Societies annual meeting in Phoenix, AZ

Oct 31, 2016

The tri-societies, including the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Soil Science Society of America (SSSA), and the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) are presenting national awards at the national meetings in Phoenix, AZ on November 6-9, 2016. Cornell professor Janice Thies will receive the fellow award from SSSA and the fellow award from ASA. Cornell will also be well represented as Harold van Es is the President of SSSA in 2016.

Ancient Farming Practice Reduces Pollution

Oct 31, 2016

Using a technique similar to composting – but with a twist – West African farmers create rich soil that absorbs global-warming carbon dioxide. Hear the Yale Climate Connections radio spot with Dawit Solomon, faculty member in Cornell’s Soil and Crop Sciences section.

Nutrition information...for cows?

Oct 26, 2016

We have it easier than cows. When we want to know how much fat, sodium, or carbohydrates are in the food we are eating, we can usually check the nutrition label on the food’s package. But cows haven't had access to detailed nutrition facts about their forage. Until recently.

The Tent Casually Observed Phenologies

Oct 14, 2016

For one day only, Brooklyn-based artist James Leonard is putting up his “Tent of Casually Observed Phenologies” between Bradfield and Rice Halls, on October 14, 2016. Between 10am and 5pm, visitors can probe climate futures and get tarot readings to help them grapple with today’s environmental issues. His readings do not replace hard facts and scientific data on climate change. The tarot readings serve as a framework to talk about anxieties of an increasingly uncertain and rapidly changing future.

The event is organized and part of the Environmental and Sustainability Science Colloquium (Riha and Lehmann), co-organized by the Johnson Museum, and supported by the Department of Natural Resources. More information about the artist and his project under

Intercropping: Intersection of soil health, production

Sep 26, 2016

Ann Bybee-Finley, graduate student in the section of Soil and Crop Sciences, researches intercropping at Cornell University. Intercropping is a complex practice of farming where different plant species are grown in the same space.

Can mountains of animal bones boost food security in Ethiopia?

Jun 30, 2016

“There were piles of bones that nobody was using at the time,” says Cornell University soil scientist Dawit Solomon, a native of Ethiopia. Solomon and colleagues decided to turn the mountains of slaughtered cattle, sheep and goat carcasses into a local fertilizer source.

How Africans Are Saving Their Own Soil

Jun 22, 2016

Cornell faculty member Dr. Dawitt Solomon, and colleagues, explain the value of studying traditional African methods of soil enrichment in a recently published scientific paper and a National Geographic feature

Tony DeTommaso

Agricultural Sciences education an effective path to STEM careers

May 26, 2016

A recent article in USNews & World Report concludes that education in agriculture sciences provide STEM education that can lead to exciting career opportunities. For example, Cornell professor DiTommaso points out that “airborne multi-spectral imagery allows for remote sensing to differentiate weeds from crops in a field, for more effective and targeted control.”

Finicky deer avoid some invasive plants, promoting spread

Apr 14, 2016

The dietary preferences of deer may be promoting the spread of such invasive species as garlic mustard, Japanese barberry and Japanese stiltgrass, according to a new study, by Kristine Averill, research associate in Soil and Crop Sciences and the article's lead author in the Journal Biological Invasions.

Kids face higher lead exposure playing in urban gardens

Apr 7, 2016

Professor Murray McBride, Soil and Crop Sciences, and Hannah Shayler, Cornell Waste Management Institute, along with researchers from NYS Department of Health, estimate that some gardeners who toil in urban gardens and children at play in them could be exposed to lead levels that exceed FDA thresholds, as reported in Environmental Geochemistry and Health.

Interest in biochar surges

Mar 7, 2016

One of the two cover stories published in Chemical & Engineering News highlights Professor Johannes Lehmann's research.

Soil scientist Nyle Brady dies at 95

Dec 3, 2015

Nyle Brady, a professor and leader in soil science, died Nov. 24 in Colorado at age 95. He joined Cornell in 1947 and held leadership roles in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Nyle was the Chair of Soil and Crop Sciences from 1955-1963.

Scientists urge new soil-carbon model for climate change era

Nov 23, 2015

In the fight to protect the environment, achieve food security and promote sustainable development, agricultural scientists, Professor Johannes Lehmann, Soil and Crop Sciences Section in the School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell University and Professor Markus Kleber, Oregon State University, advocate for new and improved soil research models that accurately forecast climate change.

New element tracking method a boon for geoscientists

Nov 19, 2015

A new method that allows geoscientists to tease out the exact inputs from three different sources, with implications for modeling and predicting climate change.
The study, published in Nature Communications, is authored by Thea Whitman, Ph.D. '14 a former graduate student of co-author Professor Johannes Lehmann.

Cornellians travel to Paris for global climate summit

Nov 18, 2015

Cornell researchers will travel to Paris as part of the university's delegation to the global climate change summit, COP21. Delegations from over 190 countries and more than 50,000 people will attend. Professor Johannes Lehmann, Soil and Crop Sciences Section in the School of Integrative Plant Science is one of the Cornell delegates.

SCS faculty receiving awards at the Tri-Societies annual meeting in Minneapolis, MN

Nov 10, 2015

The tri-societies, including the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Soil Science Society of America (SSSA), and the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) are presenting national awards at the national meetings in Minneapolis, MN, November 15-18, 2015. Cornell award recipients include professors Tim Setter, Peter Hobbs and Tony DiTommaso. Harold van Es is the President-Elect for SSSA. Read more about the national awards.

Susan Hoskins

Susan Hoskins receives the 2015 Virginia Figura Award

Oct 28, 2015

Susan Hoskins, Senior Extension Associate in the SCS Section, was presented the award by the New York Geographic Alliance in recognition of her distinguished service to geographic education in NYS. Susan has taught many mapping workshops for educators through the Alliance and has contributed to NOAA/National Geographic educator professional development grants for mapping the Susquehanna River watershed and other river basins in New York. Susan is a faculty-member in the Soil and Crop Sciences Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science and member of Cornell’s Institute for Resource Information Sciences.

Professor Leon Kochian named to Agricultural Research Service Science Hall of Fame

Sep 21, 2015

Professor Kochian, adjunct professor in Soil and Crop Science and in Plant Biology at Cornell University, has been named to the Agricultural Research Service Science Hall of Fame. The award honors USDA-ARS senior agency researchers for outstanding, lifelong achievements in agricultural science and technology. His work has unraveled the strategies that plants use to tolerate acid soils which are high in toxic soluble aluminum. This environmental constrain is especially prevalent in the highly weathered soils of the tropics and subtropics. His work has also elucidated plant processes involved in mineral nutrition.

Rise of the citizen scientist

Aug 25, 2015

A paper in Geoderma entitled ‘Can citizen science assist digital soil mapping?’ by David Rossiter, Adjunct Associate Professor, is prominently featured in an editorial in Nature and makes the case that, yes, non-specialists can help expert soil scientists to track quality, properties and types of soil.

Antonio DiTommaso

DiTommaso Wins Crop Science Teaching Award

Jul 13, 2015

In his 16 years of teaching at Cornell University, Antonio DiTommaso has taught more than 1,000 students in his weed science and integrated pest management courses. The evaluations of many of these students contributed to the decision of The Crop Science Society of America award.

Researchers share the "Year of Soils"

May 1, 2015

Faculty and graduate researchers from Cornell’s Soil and Crop Sciences section spread the dirt on the power – and vulnerability – of soil at an April 29 event.

Tim Setter

"Soil and Crop Sciences" name change

Apr 1, 2015

In recent celebration, chair Tim Setter unveiled the section’s new name “Soil and Crop Sciences.” In 2014, the department joined with four other CALS departments to form the School of Integrative Plant Science, and changed its name to Section of Soil and Crop Sciences.  An updated history of soil and crop departments at Cornell can be found at this link: Photos of the event can be seen at:


New faculty focus: Martínez joins SIPS with universal appeal

Mar 3, 2015

Is there a universal science? Carmen Enid Martínez, a new associate professor in the Soil and Crop Sciences section of the School of Integrative Plant Sciences, thinks there is: chemistry. She might be biased, as a soil and environmental chemist herself, but she says the work she is doing in her lab is certainly universally applicable. Read the full article in CALS Notes.

Jean Bonhotal receives US Composting Council Award

Feb 18, 2015

Jean Bonhotal was awarded the distinguished Rufus Chaney Award by the US Composting Council at the USCC Annual Conference and Trade Show in January 2015 in Austin, TX. The award goes to recipients who excel in research and education over a period of many years. Jean has dedicated her career at the Cornell Waste Management Institute to research and technical assistance to a range of audiences, including youth, college students, extension, farmers and solid waste managers.


Agriculture: State-Of-The-Art Soil

Jan 15, 2015

In a recent article in the journal Nature, Cornell’s professor of soil science, Johannes Lehmann, is quoted as saying that different types of biochar “have unique potential to mitigate some of the greatest soil-health constraints to crop productivity.” The article is in the January 14, 2015 issue of Nature.


Adapt-N 'graduates'

Jan 11, 2015

The nitrogen recommendation system Adapt-N, which originated in the lab of soil science professor Harold van Es, has ‘graduated’ from Cornell’s venture development center.  ATC, a technology startup at Cornell, which makes the system available to corn growers, has obtained capital investment and will expand on its own.

Mitigating Climate Change with Soil Conservation Practices

Dec 8, 2014

Cornell soil scientist Johannes Lehmann speaks about climate change mitigation strategies for the UN COP 20 Climate Change Conference held December 2014 in Lima, Peru. Lehmann addresses the potential of biochar for sequestering carbon and improving soil health.

World Soil Day

Dec 2, 2014

December 5th has been designated "World Soil Day 2014" by the International Union of Soil Sciences, the FAO, and the UN General Assembly. World Soil Day will serve as a celebration of "the importance of soil as a critical component of the natural system and as a vital contributor to human well-being."
In support of World Soil Day 2014, the Section of Soil and Crop Sciences invites faculty, staff and students to drop by a display in Mann Library foyer from 9-5 on December 5th, 2014. We will be using posters, hands on displays and video clips to educate observers about the importance of soils from multiple perspectives.  Come see what all the excitement is about!

National awards presented to Cornell soil Scientists

Nov 5, 2014

The tri-societies, including the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Soil Science Society of America (SSSA), and the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) presented national awards at the national meetings in Long Beach, California in November 1-5, 2014. Several Cornell University faculty and students were among those recognized.

The Love Life of Plants

Oct 23, 2014

Read Bill Gates blog post during his visit to Cornell about field crops research being done on corn and cassava.

Building Agricultural Research

Oct 6, 2014

Greater investment in agricultural research is advocated by Donald Kennedy, president emeritus at Stanford University and a former editor-in-chief of Science, to assure our ability to sustain the looming population increase.  In an editorial published in the October 3, 2014 issue of Science, he concludes that “The much-needed revolutions in agriculture can only come about through the investments that we make now.” Read more

Northern Stem Canker

Northern Stem Canker: A New Challenge for New York Soybean Producers

Sep 19, 2014

For the first time in New York or the northeastern U.S., a serious disease called ‘northern stem canker’ was confirmed in New York soybean fields.  Reported yield losses in the Midwest have ranged from minor to in excess of 50%, so the presence of the pathogen is considered a significant factor for soybean production.

Implementation of a Soil Health Management Plan Resolves Pond Eutrophication at Tuckaway Farm, NH

Sep 17, 2014

A collaborative project has been initiated among partners at NH NRCS, Cornell, Greenstart, NH Conservation Districts, and NH farms in four counties. The goal was to develop a framework for a soil health test-informed Soil Health Management Plan (SHMP), analogous with the NRCS’s Nutrient Management Plan, but with biological and physical test results to be considered, in addition to standard soil test results.

Late Summer is a Good Time to Control “Deep-Rooted” Perennial Broadleaf Weeds

Jul 31, 2014

All perennial weeds can be troublesome, however “deep-rooted”, creeping perennial broadleaf weeds such as field bindweed, hemp dogbane, horsenettle, and common milkweed are among the most difficult to control.  Like annual and biennial weeds, these perennials reproduce by forming seed.  In addition, they spread by rhizomes (underground stems).

Preliminary Data Indicate Corn and Wheat Acreage Down but Soybean Acreage Soars in NY in 2014

Jul 28, 2014

Corn acreage for grain in NY, as of June 1, is expected to total 660,000 acres in 2014, a decrease of about 4% from 2013 (690,000 acres). Corn acreage for silage production in NY, as of June 1, is expected to total 500,000 acres in 2014, down about 2% from 2013 (510,000 acres). Only 58% of the corn in NY was planted by June 1, however, so grain acreage could decrease further because of maturity concerns for June-planted corn, especially on dairy farms.

How Does Corn Planting Depth Affect Stand Establishment?

Jul 25, 2014

Most agronomists agree that a ~2.0 inch planting depth is usually optimum for corn establishment in northern latitudes that receive ample rainfall during the spring. A shallower planting depth, especially less than 1.5 inches, may lead to early-season root lodging associated with shallow nodal root development or corn injury from pre-emergence herbicides.

Weed Seedling Identification Workshop Held

Jun 9, 2014

Professor Antonio DiTommaso, Cornell Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, in cooperation with the Cornell Cooperative Extension Invasive Species Statewide Program, held a one-day hands-on workshop on weed seedling identification for PRISM partners. Scott Morris, Kathy Howard, and Courtney Stokes, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, assisted with the workshop.

New school positions plant and soil science for the future

Jun 6, 2014

Five departments in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences – Plant Biology, Horticulture, Plant Breeding and Genetics, Crop and Soil Sciences, and Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology – have been consolidated into the School of Integrative Plant Science.

Adapt-N Responds to Weather, Increases Grower Profits in 2013 Strip Trials

Jun 2, 2014

Adapt-N is an on-line tool for weather-adjusted precision nitrogen management in corn that has been available to growers in the Northeast and several Midwestern states since 2010 ( In 2013, with an uncharacteristically wet spring, the tool successfully adapted N recommendations to account for early-season N dynamics, and further demonstrated its ability to improve farmer profits.

New York Farm Delves Deeper with Adapt-N

Jun 2, 2014

Arnold Richardson has had his eye on Adapt-N since 2009, when the tool for weather-adapted sidedress nitrogen recommendations first became available. Of a self-described “competitive nature,” the Red Creek, NY farmer is constantly seeking and testing new strategies that can improve his farm system and boost yields and profits. After several years of watching the development of Adapt-N and its success in early on-farm trials, Richardson conducted strip trials of the Cornell nitrogen management tool in three fields in 2013.

Findings may advance iron-rich, cadmium-free crops

May 28, 2014

Professor Olena Vatamaniuk and colleagues have discovered that a transporter protein is involved in iron as well as cadmium partitioning.  The work, which is reported in a recent article in Plant Cell, is a multidisciplinary collaboration including current PhD student Sheena Gayomba, as well as several other current and former students, and colleagues at the USDA, Purdue University, University of Aberdeen, and Dartmouth College.

Custom-built, rather than all-purpose biochars are needed

Apr 29, 2014

Professor Johannes Lehmann suggests in a recent issue of Nature Geoscience that “Rather than thinking of biochar as a one-size-fits-all soil enhancer, we need to focus on developing tailor-made biochar systems for individual applications that take into account soil type, climate and social setting.”

Invasive vines swallow up New York's natural areas

Apr 23, 2014

As invasive Pale and black swallow-wort vines spread across the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada, Cornell researchers lead efforts to understand these pernicious plants.

Peter Hobbs

Professor Peter Hobbs Receives NACTA Teaching Award

Apr 21, 2014

Professor Peter Hobbs is the 2014 recipient of the National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Teaching Award. This award is presented to a faculty member who has demonstrated a commitment to teaching in agricultural sciences. Hobbs was presented with this award at the Dean’s Awards Reception on April 21.

corn and tractor

New York Corn Production During the Last 25 Years

Apr 21, 2014

What's Cropping Up? Vol. 24, No. 2: NY corn growers typically plant 1.15 million acres annually, making NY the 17th leading state in the USA in corn acres. NY is unique, in that planted corn acreage fluctuates between an approximate 50:50 ratio of grain corn and corn silage.

soybeans ready for harvest

Transformation of soybean from minor to major NY crop

Apr 17, 2014

What's Cropping Up? Vol. 24, No. 2: Soybean is the agricultural commodity in New York that has increased the most in both acreage and value over the last 25 years. The $195M value of soybean in 2012 ranked the crop as the 6th leading agricultural commodity in New York.

DEC logo

Acetochlor Herbicide Stewardship – New York State

Apr 15, 2014

What's Cropping Up? Vol. 24, No. 2: Acetochlor herbicide products received registration approval in New York in February 2013 providing New York growers with a valuable new tool and an expanded array of options for weed control.

Predators delay pest resistance to Bt crops

Mar 4, 2014

The combination of natural enemies, such as ladybeetles, with Bt crops, delays a pest's ability to evolve resistance to the crops' insecticidal proteins, according to new research.

As crop indicators, weeds spread in warmer world

Nov 7, 2013

Weeds, those unwanted, unloved and annoying invasive plants that farmers and gardeners hate amid their plantings, are expanding to northern latitudes, thanks to rising temperatures.

Grad student to wrestle weeds in collegiate contest

Jul 12, 2013

The Cornell University Weed Team sends graduate student Courtney Stokes to the 2013 North Central and Northeastern Collegiate Weed competition in Illinois for two days of brutal, mind-bending, grueling agronomic combat on July 24-25.