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Alex Woodley

Department of Crop and Soil Sciences

Assistant Professor

4128 Plant Sciences Building


Alex Woodley’s research program is focused on soil productivity and profitability in sustainable and organic cropping systems. Research initiatives include linking soil health indicators to productive agroecosystems, mitigation of soil greenhouse gas emissions, soil carbon sequestration and nutrient management of fertilizers, organic amendments and cover crops.


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Date: 02/01/23 - 1/31/26
Amount: $56,875.00
Funding Agencies: NC Soybean Producers Association, Inc.

Producers are pushing the boundaries of traditional management strategies to achieve their high-yielding soybean goals. Best management practices help some soybean yields of NC to exceed 70bu/A while the historical statewide average yield of soybean mark 35 bu/A level. However, intensive agricultural practices may not provide long-term sustainability in increasing soybean yield levels. Achieving high yields and improving soil properties may differ substantially for each region of NC and require excellent field conditions and hence site-specific and climate-smart management strategies. Especially increasing need for agricultural products, and expensive and limited fertilizer inputs due to global issues require improvements in currently available management strategies like cover cropping and reduced or no tillage. Recently, management practices like those provide minimum disturbance, maximum soil coverage, economically profitable carbon farming, and restore or maintain soil health are critical. This research aims to develop site-specific cover crop and tillage practices where we can get the most benefit from interactions between cover crop and tillage applications to provide high economical return and enhanced soil health conditions. We will conduct plant and soil analysis including soil physical properties, microbial activities, N fixation, soybean yield, and biomass. We will also conduct an economic analysis and carbon credit evaluations. To conduct this project, we will hire a graduate student for 3 years co-sponsored with this grant and startup from department support by Crop and Soil Sciences Department. We are also requesting financial support for field supplies, travel costs, and soil and plant analysis associated with the project.

Date: 02/01/22 - 1/31/26
Amount: $649,912.00
Funding Agencies: USDA - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

We will investigate the carryover effects of P fertilization on loblolly pine plantations and the effects on the soil microbial community.

Date: 02/01/21 - 2/01/25
Amount: $10,741.00
Funding Agencies: Corn Growers Association of NC, Inc.

New injection bars available through Zoske, Bazooka-Farmstar, and Dietrich allow for manure injection into standing corn. Initial results out of Ohio and Minnesota indicate corn can withstand injection below the V5 growth stage without injury. The potential to utilize in-season injection could drastically increase the application window of swine sludge in a corn rotation, allowing the grower/applicator to get in the field when field conditions are optimum, especially in rainy springs such as we saw in 2020. However, there is little information on this injection system in the sandy soils of the Coastal Plain. Therefore, we propose small scale field testing to identify the impact of swine sludge injection on corn yield and quality.

Date: 02/08/22 - 1/20/25
Amount: $1,061,790.00
Funding Agencies: USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

On-farm trials will be used to measure mitigation of nitrous oxide and ammonia emissions from nitrogen fertilization of corn with and without the use of a urease and nitrification inhibitor. Control plots receiving zero N will be used to examine inherent soil health in the system and supply power relative to corn yields.

Date: 01/01/23 - 12/31/24
Amount: $376,406.00
Funding Agencies: BASF Corporation

(Project is in support of PSI) Greenhouse trials measuring GHG emissions and soil health parameters in corn using a variety of biological products. In addition, a GHG column experiment measuring high frequency GHG emissions.

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