How to Help Soils, Crops and Water, and Also Deal with Climate: July 28 Field Night


PIKETON, Ohio — The July 28 Soil, Water and Bioenergy Field Night at the Ohio State University South Centers in Piketon will feature new and innovative ways to grow soybeans, corn and wheat in a changing climate.

Growing cover crops, practicing long-term no-till and spreading gypsum on the soil — all of which offer the triple benefit of better soil health, crop yields and water quality — also are on the agenda.

The topics at the event will “help farmers make knowledgeable decisions about best management practices that provide long-term economic and environmental benefits,” said Rafiq Islam, soil and bioenergy program leader at the centers.

The centers are part of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

Gypsum, cover crops, new technology

Featured in the program will be:

  • A talk by Ron Chamberlain of Chicago-based Gypsoil called “Gypsum: A Win-Win for Soils, Crops and the Environment.” Previous studies, including at Ohio State, have suggested that applying gypsum to the soil is a cost-effective way to improve the soil, raise crop yields and reduce nutrient runoff. Gypsoil sells a synthetic form of the material.
  • A wagon tour led by Wayne Lewis, farm manager at the centers, looking at cover crops and gypsum use in the field plus details on new technology called iCAST developed by Mitsui Chemicals of Japan. iCAST stands for “integrated cultivation-accelerating systems.” Islam said the technology can help Ohio’s growers of grains, fruits and vegetables adapt “in response to expected climate effects.” Scientist Hirozumi Matsuno of Mitsui Chemicals will speak on the tour.

A free dinner will be included, and door prizes will be given away at the end of the event.

Presenting the event will be experts not just from the centers and the rest of the college but from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Pike Soil and Water Conservation District.

Goal: ‘Profitable, sustainable farming’

Islam said the program’s overarching goal is to “support profitable and sustainable farming practices in Ohio.”

The event is from 5:30-9 p.m., with dinner at 6 p.m., at the centers at 1864 Shyville Road in Piketon. Meet in the Research and Extension Building’s auditorium. Admission is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required. To register, contact the centers’ Sarah Strausbaugh at or 740-289-2071, ext. 112, by July 21.

Co-sponsors of the event in addition to the college are the Pike SWCD and the Pike County Solid Waste Management District.

For more information, call Islam at 614-323-9224, Strausbaugh at 740-289-2071 or Mary Sibole of the Pike SWCD at 740-947-5353.

CFAES News Team
For more information, contact: 

Rafiq Islam
740-289-2071, ext. 147