IALC Peace Fellowship Report
Abraham K. Al-da'jeh
University Of Jordan
Tillage System Effects on Soil Structure
in the Upper Missouri River Basin
I am glad to note that a major aim of the IALC Peace Fellowship program
is "to bring students from various parts of Middle East in contact with
colleagues from around the world." The IALC has established the peace
fellowship program to allow undergraduate and graduate students to work
closely with scientists from around the world that are working on projects
funded by the IALC. I spent the month of September at South Dakota State
University, Brookings, SD. Working under the direction of Dr. Tom Schumacher
on a project focused on Tillage System Effects on Soil Structure in
the Upper Missouri River Basin. At the same time I also worked with
Dr. Anna Eynard on the IALC-sponsored project.
The main objectives of Dr. Schumacher's project are:
- To demonstrate that keeping more crop residues on the soil surface
is the most cost-effective means for controlling erosion on the
highly erodible lands.
- To develop and promote no-till technology through
training material and activities, designed for people involved
with technology transfer.
- To develop publications designed for the
general farm audience to develop no-till technology.
- To implement
discussion groups on sharing experiences with no-till technology.
I spent close to three weeks studying laboratory methods and analysis
in the Pedology laboratory of the Plant Science Department, which is part
of the project. The objective of this analysis is to evaluate soil texture
in no-till and tilled fields as compared to grassland in central South
Dakota. An objective of the project was to better understand changes in
soil structure and organic matter occurring under these management systems.
I learned particle size analysis which will help determine the textural
classes, and the particle size distributions.
I determined the following:
- the coarse fraction percentage in the samples (> 2 mm material)
fine earth fraction
- total clay (< 0.002 mm)
- total silt (0.002 - 0.05 mm)
- total sand and it's sub-classes (very
coarse, coarse, medium, fine, and very fine).
There are two different methods for the particle size analysis, depending
fundamentally on the same physical laws of sedimentation:
- the pipette method
- the hydrometer method
The pipette method is more accurate. That's why it is the method used
by the Pedology laboratory. I can summarize particle size analysis by
the following main steps:
- Chemical pre-treatment
- Determination of > 2 mm material and organic
- Particle size analysis, Sieving of sands and pipetting
for the clay fraction
- Calculation of the percentage of particles
- Homogeneity tests to
check whether all samples, within a given site, were homogeneous
Dr. Schumacher's work required that we visited many different regions
in South Dakota. Each time, Dr. Schumacher would make a point of exposing
me to cultural experiences. Dr. Schumacher would stop and talk about
the region; it's people, and their lifestyles. We visited Burke, SD
(a farming community), the Missouri River, Sioux Falls, SD (the largest
city in South Dakota), soybean corn farm operation, and research fields.
We also visited many sites in Brookings. The trips were excellent, educational,
and cultural enrichment experiences.
Also I had the opportunity to attend the annual professional meeting
of SD Chapter of the Soil Water Conservation Society in Sioux Falls, SD.
The main topic of the meeting was "The Missouri River: Challenges in Soil
and Water Conservation.@ Through this meeting we visited the wonderful
museum (Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science), which is about the early
history of the United States and South Dakota. There was a display of
Native American art provided for a national Native American meeting being
held at the museum. I also visited the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD, which
is one of the wondrous sites of the world.
During this month I had the opportunity to interact with professors,
researchers, and graduate students throughout the state. Also I had the
golden opportunity to travel with a kind professor, Dr. Russell Stubbles,
who is in the Horticulture Department. We went to the Shelby County Conservation
Board in Iowa, to meet the director Mr. Darby. We talked about their experience
in the field of conservation especially for wild flowers. This related
to my project in Jordan. I am studying the Reproductive Biology and Conservation
of two species of Royal Irises: I. petrana, I. nigrican in Jordan.
Dr. Schumacher was very hospitable. He invited me to his home and other
activities. I spent pleasant moments with him and his family. He treated
me as a member of his family. Through the sponsorship of IALC I would
like to express my highest respect for him and his family. It is my hope
and wish that he will visit Jordan very soon.
The experience I received through the IALC Peace Fellowship has given
me a deeper understanding of the people and culture of South Dakota. I
believe that the South Dakotans come from strong stock. Their ancestors
include Lakota people who followed the buffalo across the plains... German,
Norwegian, Czechoslovakian...and other immigrants who made this land their
home. Thanks for all South Dakotans... Everywhere you look, you will see
GREAT FACES and GREAT PLACES.