Category: Research

16 Apr 2018

Ticks Bother Horses Too

Ticks Bother Horses Too

Pests are an ongoing challenge in an agricultural setting.  Ticks are one pest that afflict horses causing irritation and potentially disease.   Since Greenacres is home to many types of animals, the Equine Center is curious to see if pasturing chickens with the horses will reduce the number of ticks found on the horses.  Starting next month, tick numbers will be collected on horses pastured with and without chickens.


26 Mar 2018

Kicking off a new study

Kicking off a new study

Exciting news! Greenacres is officially entering into a research partnership with Dr. Pat Keyser and University of Tennessee’s Center for Native Grasslands Management.

The research collaboration will attempt to address the major challenges associated with native warm season grass (NWSG) establishment by limiting weed pressure while providing livestock forage during the seedling year. If the hypothesis is proven, this research will pave the path for increased acceptance of NWSG by cattle producers, in turn leading to an increase in acreage planted in NWSG. This increase could provide many benefits for livestock producers (through increased production value), wildlife (such as habitat for ground nesting bird species), ecosystems (increased biodiversity) and the health of our soils and watersheds (increased length of green season).

This research could play a large role in filling gaps in the literature in terms of NWSG establishment – providing valuable information to cattle producers, wildlife professionals, extension agents, academics, and others.

16 Mar 2018

Healthy Soil, Healthy Plants

Soil health is the foundation of ecosystem health.  How do you know if soil is healthy?  The answer is soil testing.  There are a variety of tests that can be run on soil samples.  Soil tests like those found at your local garden center provide relative values of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium (N-P-K tests) and help homeowners to grow better grass, vegetables or flowers.   Soil samples can also be sent to laboratories for more detailed analyses.  Traditional tests do not measure the biological component of soils which is a key indicator of soil health.  One test we use in our research is the Haney test which provides both chemical and biological data.  The respiration measurement from the tests indicates microbial activity in the soil.

05 May 2017

Key Indicators of Soil Health

In school, many students learn about the mineral component of soil- namely sand, silt and clay- soil texture that varies by geography.  From a soil health perspective, the biological component of soil is very important.  The types of fungi and bacteria in soil are key indicators of soil health.  Some fungi produce a substance called glomalin which coats soils particles and hold them together- high numbers of these types of fungi make us happy.  We test for the presence of these microbes using the PLFA test.  PFLA refers to the phospholipid fatty acids which make up cell membranes.  Bacterial and fungal groups have different structures of PFLAs and this allows us to detect how many and which types of microorganisms are in the soil.

The table below shows select PLFA results from soil at the start of the Ley rotation study.  We will continue to run this test throughout the study and compare the results over time.