College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
AGNR Research

MAES Accomplishments

Development of Nutrient Management Software:  Nutrient management planning software developed by Robert Hill and his research group in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland allows farmers and nutrient management consultants to prepare nutrient management plans after a small amount of training. The software is comprehensive and easy to use. Besides being used for the nutrient management planning on the majority of Maryland cropland, it is also used by consultants to develop the majority of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) nutrient management plans prepared in Maryland.

Development of Maryland Phosphorus Site Index Software:  Software has been developed by Robert Hill and his fellow cooperators and research team that allows the phosphorus site index to be easily calculated by farmers and nutrient management consultants after a small amount of training. The phosphorus site index is an environmental loss assessment tool used to predict the effects of soil management, soil phosphorus contents, and waste phosphorus contents on the risk of potential phosphorus losses from agricultural fields.  The software is easy to use and can be used by farmers after a small amount of training.

Agricultural Nutrient Management Program: Based on the work that was initiated in the early 1990s by research and extension team of Frank Coale, Patricia Steinhilber and Richard Weismiller of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland, the University of Maryland research and extension team, the State of Maryland launched and established the first statewide, science-based agricultural nutrient management program in the United States that was focused on enhancing water quality protection while preserving agricultural productivity.  This progressive effort began with an educational mission built around field demonstrations and volunteer collaborating farmers.  Over the years, agricultural nutrient management in Maryland evolved into a hybrid of voluntary and state-mandated regulatory practices, all based on the best available science and guidance from the University of Maryland.  99.8 percent of the state’s 1.3 million acres of cropland and 99 percent of the state’s 6,200 eligible farmers have nutrient management plans and are complying with the state’s nutrient management law.  

Rapid Method for Estimating Biologically Active Carbon: Ray Weil and his research group in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland developed a simple inexpensive and rapid method of estimating the biologically active carbon in soils by oxidation with a dilute, neutral potassium permanganate/CaCl2 solution. They published this method in 2003 and it is now used around the world. It has been officially adopted by USDA/NRSC efforts in soil quality. It was evaluated as a field method for soil quality assessment and as a research method for carbon modeling in two recent, hi-visibility publications by other leading scientists.

Riparian Buffer Incentive Program:  Increase in Riparian Buffer Incentive Payments through USDA-NRCS’s CREP Program was initiated based on the research by Lori Lynch of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland, thus leading to the implementation of 75,000 acres of Riparian Buffers in MD. The program helps protect water quality in local streams and rivers by reducing soil erosion, controlling nutrient runoff and increasing wildlife habitat.   

 Adoption of Cover Crops in Maryland:  Cereal Grain Cover Crops adoption and State Cost-Sharing has been developed based on Research by Russ Brinsfield and Kenneth (Ken) Staver at Wye Research and Education Center of the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station -College of Agriculture and Natural Resources of the University of Maryland. As of January 2011, 398,679 acres of land was under cover crop in Maryland and that has tremendous positive impact on the reduction of nutrients and sediment to the Chesapeake Bay.

Development and Adoption of No-till Farming in Maryland:  In 1970s No-till farming for double-cropping of Soybean after wheat/barley harvest (a Crop Production Breakthrough) was developed by the research faculty in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources of the University of Maryland College park and was tested in their Research and education centers.  This practice became a hallmark of best management practices (BMPs) in its beneficial impact on the reduction of erosion and nutrient loss to the surface runoff. 

High Yield Wheat Production:  Research faculty in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources of the University of Maryland College Park Adapted the high yield wheat production procedures used in England, which involved fertilizer, seeding rates, fungicides, and varieties to soil and climatic conditions of Maryland.  This was a big breakthrough that increased wheat production and the average yield of wheat in the state as observed in the Lower Eastern Shore Research Facility.

Soybean Variety:  The development of the soybean variety Manokin by William Kenworthy in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources of the University of Maryland College Park was one of the first varieties that had cyst nematode resistance to the primary cyst races that are present in Maryland. Most varieties did not have the correct race resistance. The variety Manokin was important in Maryland and became a widely grown variety across the southern USA. It remained popular until the Roundup Ready technology replaced standard varieties.

Poultry Nutrition and Chesapeake Bay: Through nutritional research conducted by Roselina Angel in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland, phosphorus excretion by broiler chickens into the Chesapeake Bay watershed has been reduced by 22%.  This is important for the ecology of the Bay and the sustainability of Maryland's most important agricultural industry.

New Waist Circumference Cut-offs for the Metabolic Syndrome for African Americans and Hispanics

Dr. Robert T. Jackson and his students in the College of Agriculture and natural Resources at the University of Maryland have been able to develop new cut-off points for waist circumference and body mass index that are more appropriate for Hispanic and African American citizens of the USA than are the previously promulgated cutoffs that were derived for European American citizens. The new cut-offs may substantially alter the prevalence estimates of metabolic syndrome and more accurately determine the efficacy of interventions in ethnic minority sub-populations.

Improving Foods for better human health. 

Dr. Liangli (Lucy) Yu’s research in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland on enhancing the antioxidant bioavailability in whole-wheat foods demonstrated for the first time that little change in food processing procedure may greatly improve the health properties of conventional foods. Her research attracted more than 3000 broadcasts worldwide, and stimulated research in bioavailability of health food factors.   

Modeling Non-Point Source Pollution in Agroecosystems: Dr. Shirmohammadi, his collaborators and students in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland College Park calibrated and validated both field scale and watershed scale models to simulate the impacts of agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) on hydrologic and water quality responses of multi-scale agroecosystems. Results of their more than 20 years of research led into identification and importance of the consideration of uncertainty in the ecosystem models and its implications for watershed management and TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) assessments.  Results of their modeling research also produced BMP efficiency indices that US-EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program Office has incorporated them into the Chesapeake Bay Watershed model since late 1980s.

Wheat and Barley Varieties: Dr. Jose Costa heads the breeding program for improving wheat and barley varieties in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources of the University of Maryland College Park. The program is focused on development of productive varieties with enhanced resistance to the major diseases impacting these important crops in the mid-Atlantic region. Dr. Costa’s most recent released wheat variety is ‘Chesapeake’. This productive variety has excellent resistance to powdery mildew. In the fall of 2010, approximately 3,000,000 pounds of certified seed of Chesapeake wheat were planted in over 30,000 acres across the mid-Atlantic region. The estimated additional annual farm gate value to farmers growing Chesapeake wheat is over $ 1,000,000 in the region.

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