Soil scientists recognised with Leamy Award

Drs Denis Curtin and Mike Beare have received the Leamy Award from the New Zealand Society of Soil Science. The Award is given bi-yearly to the author/s of the most commendable New Zealand contribution to soil science, published over the past three years.

Drs Curtin and Beare are leading experts globally in the processes that affect N mineralisation and immobilisation. Over the past two decades they have published extensively on nitrogen cycling in agroecosystems. In 2017, together with colleagues from Plant & Food Research, they published, ‘Rapid assays to predict nitrogen mineralization capacity of agricultural soils’, in the Soil Science Society of America Journal.

This research paper addressed the inability to predict the quantity of nitrogen a soil can supply via mineralisation. This inability is a serious impediment to improving nitrogen management in production systems. The research found strong correlations between hot water extractable organic nitrogen and the “gold-standard” measure of mineralisable N (a 14-week incubation). Their results showed that this easily-measured organic nitrogen fraction can be used to predict nitrogen supply potential across a wide range of soil types and land uses.

This finding has provided the foundation for further research and application over the past three years to refine a new nitrogen mineralisation test. This test is now being adopted by commercial testing laboratories in New Zealand.

The New Zealand Society of Soil Science is a professional society with over 400 local and international members that encourages the advancement of soil science.

Source:  Plant & Food Research

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