Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Update

To research the development and evaluation of pathways to net-zero emission agriculture and cropping systems

By Sandhya Karki

Dr. Sandhya Karki is working on the Sloan Foundation project dedicated to achieving net-zero emissions cropping systems across the Midwestern US through implementing best agricultural practices. Dr. Karki primarily evaluates the impact of integrated best agriculture practices on soil health. Biochar application and integrating cover crops in crop rotation are two widely recommended practices for enhancing carbon sequestration and improving soil health. Despite their known individual benefits, the knowledge of the effect of integrating biochar and cover crops on soil health is somewhat limited. The field experiments were established in the fall of 2020 at two research stations operated by Ohio State University: Western Agricultural Research Station and Northwest Agriculture Research Station. The field experiment consisted of eight treatments with biochar, cover crops, nitrogen management, and control alone or in combination. After three years of biochar application, in November 2023,192 soil samples were collected from both research sites. Soil samples were collected from three depths, 0-5, 5-10, and 15-30 cm, with a soil auger for chemical analysis. In addition, soil samples were collected to assess bulk density, water retention, and aggregate stability analysis. Dr. Karki just completed processing and analyzing the soil samples and is currently working on data processing and handling.