Wortman Research - Cover Crops
Biodegradable Mulches

Bio-based mulches in cucumber.

Biodegradable Mulches

Our research goal is to identify post-incorporation management strategies that accelerate biomulch degradation in soil, and to determine the microbial drivers of biomulch degradation and the eventual fate of biomulch residues in the soil environment.

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Cover Crops

Fall-seeded cover crops

Cover Crops

We are conducting research to quantify the ecosystem services provided by individual cover crop species in monoculture and mixture, and develop new cover crop seed and seeding technologies to reduce labor during peak seasons and improve cover crop establishment.

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Organic Soil Amendments

Composted animal manure

Organic Soil Amendments

Our research aim is to identify the multifunctional benefits of different organic amendments, and to explore application methods, rates, and intervals that will help us maximize these benefits in organic vegetable cropping systems.

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Hops

Hops - East Campus Garden

Hops

As part of the Nebraska Hops Project team, we are testing the potential for organic seed meals to concurrently displace synthetic nitrogen fertilizer and reduce weed emergence in hop yards.

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Abrasive Weed Management

Abrasive weed management in kale.

Abrasive Weed Management

Air-propelled abrasive weed control, also called “weed blasting”, is the application of existing sand-blasting technology to physically abrade weed seedlings growing within crop rows. We are measuring vegetable crop growth and yield, disease incidence, weed suppression, and soil nitrogen mineralization in response to different abrasive grits and application rates.

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Urban Agriculture

Urban farming experiment in Chicago.

Urban Agriculture

To address the critical challenges of urban agriculture, we are interested in: 1) developing low-cost soil remediation options that provide agronomic and environmental benefits; 2) identifying crops and cultivars best-suited to the elevated temperatures and atmospheric pollutant loads in cities; and 3) exploring opportunities for water reuse and conservation on urban farms.

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Tomato shelter

Tomato grafting

Tomato Grafting

This research aims to increase tomato yield and quality while reducing irrigation and synthetic nitrogen fertilizer use in Nebraska through the adoption of resource-efficient tomato rootstocks and carbon-based soil amendments.

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Herbicide Drift

Cucurbits are susceptible to off-target injury from dicamba and 2,4-D herbicides.

Herbicide Drift

Herbicide drift has always been a primary challenge of growing specialty crops in Nebraska, but the issue has grown increasingly urgent due to the recent commercialization of dicamba-resistant soybean (Roundup Ready 2 Xtend).

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