Portrait in the collection of the Department of Soil Science, University of Wisconsin–Madison
|Born||March 6, 1884|
|Died||December 19, 1969 85) (aged|
|Known for||Emil Truog Soil Test|
|Institutions||University of Wisconsin–Madison|
Emil Truog (March 6, 1884 – December 19, 1969) was an American soil scientist. He received his B.S. Degree (Agriculture), University of Wisconsin,1909 and his M.S. (Chemistry) in 1912. It was in 1912 when he became an instructor in Soil Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an Assistant Professor in 1916, Associate professor in 1917, Professor in 1921 and Emeritus professor in 1954. He was a chairman for the Department of Soil Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1939–1953.Much of his research during his early years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison was focused on discovering the processes by which plants obtain nutrients from the soil. With the help from his colleagues and graduate students, he pioneered many practical soil tests. His research culminated into over 100 scientific papers, three books and around 50 popular articles. Along with his work with soil and plants, he teamed up with George J. Barker, a Professor of Mining and Metallurgy to develop a treatment of clay in brick manufacture that cut production costs and improved quality. Emil was a very well known and admired teacher of graduate, undergraduate and short course students. During his career he guided over 100 students to their doctorate degree and almost as many to their masters. Truog was known to be an inspiring worker, leader of strong character and a person of deep concern for family and friends. He served as 1954 President of the Soil Science Society of America.
Emil Truog was born on March 6, 1884. He grew up on a farm near Independence, Wisconsin. He was the youngest of ten children. His parents were Swiss immigrants who came to America in 1850. His father started as a carpenter, working in cities along the Mississippi River. After not being able to find a suitable farm in Iowa, he settled on one near Arcadia, Wisconsin. His father served in the Civil War and shortly after married and began his wheat farm in Arcadia. His father traveled to Colorado for a few years to learn how to run an irrigated farm and returned in 1884 when Emil was born. It was common at the time for children living on a farm to go to school for 6 months and spend the other 6 working for their family. Emil began his schooling at a one room school house a mile form his house. His first teacher was Eva May Reid, who he later owed much of his success to. She gave him much encouragement and inspiration throughout his career. At the age of 14, Emil began his high school education at Independence High School (Wisconsin). It was in a physics class that he first began to see how science could be used to help with everyday work on the farm. Independence High School (Wisconsin) only offered two years of high school education and, at the encouragement of his physics teacher, he enrolled in Arcadia High School. They offered a full four-year program and he graduated from there in 1904 as the valedictorian of a class of nine boys. Emil took a year off of schooling, after his graduation, to work on the farm. The following fall he enrolled in the Agriculture program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His main focus while attending UW-Madison stemmed from his father. His father liked new land and told young Emil that, “On new land I never failed” but the land failed after a time and that set Emil thinking. “It made an impression on me and I wondered what’s happening to the land. What happens when new land is no longer productive”He received his B.S. Degree (Agriculture), University of Wisconsin,1909 and his M.S. (Chemistry) in 1912.
Emil joined the Soil Science department in 1909 and named a professor of the department in 1921. He was The Soil Science department chairman from 1939-1953. In 1954 he was granted emeritus professor status. Through his teaching career he guided nearly 100 students to doctorate degrees and another 80 to master's degrees. Truog believed that enthusiasm springs from seeing opportunities. He had the facility for inspiring this vision in many of his students.
Emil Truog died on December 19, 1969, in a Madison, Wisconsin, nursing home. He had suffered from a long illness prior. He had a wife, Lucy Truog, who succeeded him in death five months later. His surviving family members at the time were daughter, Nancy; twins, John and Martha; and six grandchildren.
Long before Truog began his career as a professor and soil scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, it was known that some soils were not as productive as others due to their pH level. The pH level affected the amount of available nutrients in the soil for the plant to utilize. The soil acidity could be corrected with the application of lime. The problem, at the time, was that farmers did not know how acidic their soils were, as well as not knowing how much lime to add to correct the problem. A main goal of Truog's was to develop an easy and practical test that all farmers could use to amend their soils. This was very important to Truog because not only was his family farm on acidic soils, but over 60% of Wisconsin farms at the time were on acidic soils.
In 1912 he developed the test which is the basis for the acidity tests still in use today. In its simplest form, soil, water, and chemicals were placed in a flask and brought to a boil. A piece of paper that had been soaked in lead acetate was placed over the steam that came from the flask. The paper darkened according to the degree of acid in the soil. “Probably no other person in out country has done more for the man on the land than Emil Truog”-George D. Scarseth, director of research for the American Farm research association in 1949 said. Once the piece of paper darkened they compared it to paper of already known acidic levels. Soil scientists from foreign lands and all of the U.S. began arriving in Madison to learn how they could restore their fields. Due to the widespread popularity of the test in Wisconsin at the time, Wisconsin used much more lime and fertilizer than other states. In 1946 Wisconsin used 315,000 tons of lime compared with 200,000 tons and 170,000 tons for Iowa and Minnesota.
In the late 1930s Truog worked on a test to determine the amount of nitrogen in the soil which would become available in a season to plant life. At the time this question was mostly academic. However, the farmers were putting more thought into what was in the soil and how the plants interacted with it. Emil talked with Emil Jorgensen in the University of Wisconsin-Madison extension division and got excited. They started a campaign to help farmers get up to 100 bushels per acre, called it “One hundred bushel corn adventure” in 1952. At this time Truog had perfected his 10-year-old nitrogen availability test. Truogs test more closely approximates the interaction of the bacteria and nitrogen throughout the growing season. The test was quite simple and calls for minimum equipment. A lab worker measures a quarter teaspoon of soil to be tested into a boiling flask. Permanganate and sodium carbonate is boiled. The mixture is boiled and the chemicals liberate a portion of the nitrogen. The tube of soil and chemicals can be compared to color of tubes with known concentration to determine the amount of nitrogen availability. He figured that the farmers needed around 150 pounds of nitrogen to produce 100 bushels of corn.
Using this test, and the "100 Bushel Corn Adventure" campaign Emil tested 162 farmers soils and wrote prescriptions for the addition of nitrogen to each of them. Other suggestions were made to farmers including additions of phosphorus and potassium. Due to the farmers large success the name was changed from the, "One Hundred Bushel Corn Adventure" to, "Pacemaker Corn Club." Despite the fact that the forecast for corn in the country in 1952 was 39.4, the Wisconsin average was 58.5 bushels. The average of the 162 farms was 124 bushels, over 3 times the national average.
The Emil Truog Award is designed to recognize a recent Ph.D. degree recipient who has made an outstanding contribution to soil science as evidenced by his/her Ph.D. thesis or dissertation. This award is supported through funds from the Emil Truog estate. The award consists of a certificate and $3000 honorarium.
Soil pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity (alkalinity) of a soil. pH is defined as the negative logarithm (base 10) of the activity of hydronium ions in a solution. In soils, it is measured in a slurry of soil mixed with water, and normally falls between 3 and 10, with 7 being neutral. Acid soils have a pH below 7 and alkaline soils have a pH above 7. Ultra-acidic soils and very strongly alkaline soils are rare.
Artturi Ilmari Virtanen was a Finnish chemist and recipient of the 1945 Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for his research and inventions in agricultural and nutrition chemistry, especially for his fodder preservation method".
Soil test may refer to one or more of a wide variety of soil analysis conducted for one of several possible reasons. Possibly the most widely conducted soil tests are those done to estimate the plant-available concentrations of plant nutrients, in order to determine fertilizer recommendations in agriculture. Other soil tests may be done for engineering (geotechnical), geochemical or ecological investigations.
The Three Sisters are the three main agricultural crops of various indigenous groups in the Americas: winter squash, maize (corn), and climbing beans. Originating in Mesoamerica, these three crops were carried northward, up the river valleys over generations, far afield to the Mandan and Iroquois who, among others, used these "Three Sisters" for food and trade.
Nutrient management is the science and practice directed to link soil, crop, weather, and hydrologic factors with cultural, irrigation, and soil and water conservation practices to achieve optimal nutrient use efficiency, crop yields, crop quality, and economic returns, while reducing off-site transport of nutrients (fertilizer) that may impact the environment. It involves matching a specific field soil, climate, and crop management conditions to rate, source, timing, and place of nutrient application.
Agricultural lime, also called aglime, agricultural limestone, garden lime or liming, is a soil additive made from pulverized limestone or chalk. The primary active component is calcium carbonate. Additional chemicals vary depending on the mineral source and may include calcium oxide. Unlike the types of lime called quicklime and slaked lime, powdered limestone does not require lime burning in a lime kiln; it only requires milling. All of these types of lime are sometimes used as soil conditioners, with a common theme of providing a base to correct acidity, but lime for farm fields today is often crushed limestone. Historically, liming of farm fields in centuries past was often done with burnt lime; the difference is at least partially explained by the fact that affordable mass-production-scale fine milling of stone and ore relies on technologies developed since the mid-19th century.
Liming is the application of calcium- and magnesium-rich materials in various forms, including marl, chalk, limestone, or hydrated lime. In acid soils, these materials react as a base and neutralize soil acidity. This often improves plant growth and increases the activity of soil bacteria, but oversupply may result in harm to plant life.
Soil conservation is the prevention of loss of the top most layer of the soil from erosion or prevention of reduced fertility caused by over usage, acidification, salinization or other chemical soil contamination.
Franklin Hiram King was an American agricultural scientist who was born on a farm near Whitewater, Wisconsin, attended country schools, and received his professional training first at Whitewater State Normal School, graduating in 1872, and then at Cornell University. King is now best remembered for his first-hand account of traditional agricultural practices in Asia, now regarded as an organic farming classic text.
Worldwide more human beings gain their livelihood from agriculture than any other endeavor; the majority are self-employed subsistence farmers living in the tropics. While growing food for local consumption is the core of tropical agriculture, cash crops are also included in the definition.
Soil acidification is the buildup of hydrogen cations, which reduces the soil pH. Chemically, this happens when a proton donor gets added to the soil. The donor can be an acid, such as nitric acid, sulfuric acid, or carbonic acid. It can also be a compound such as aluminium sulfate, which reacts in the soil to release protons. Acidification also occurs when base cations such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium are leached from the soil.
Soil biodiversity refers to the relationship of soil to biodiversity and to aspects of the soil that can be managed in relation to biodiversity. Soil biodiversity relates to some catchment management considerations.
The Illinois Soil Nitrogen Test ("ISNT") is a method for measuring the amount of Nitrogen in soil that is available for use by plants as a nutrient. The test predicts whether the addition of nitrogen fertilizer to agricultural land will result in increased crop yields.
The University of Wisconsin–Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is one of the colleges of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Founded in 1889, the college has 17 academic departments, 23 undergraduate majors, and 49 graduate programs.
Upland rice is rice grown on dry soil rather than flooded rice paddies.
Phosphorus deficiency is a plant disorder associated with insufficient supply of phosphorus. Phosphorus refers here to salts of phosphates (PO43−), monohydrogen phosphate (HPO42−), and dihydrogen phosphate (H2PO4−). These anions readily interconvert, and the predominant species is determined by the pH of the solution or soil. Phosphates are required for the biosynthesis of genetic material as well as ATP, essential for life. Phosphorus deficiency can be controlled by applying sources of phosphorus such as bone meal, rock phosphate, manure, and phosphate-fertilizers.
Robert H. Burris was a professor in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1961. Research in Burris's lab focused on enzyme reaction mechanisms, and he made significant contributions to our knowledge of nitrogen fixation.
Base-cation saturation ratio (BCSR) is a method of interpreting soil test results that is widely used in sustainable agriculture, supported by the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA) and claimed to be successfully in use on over a million acres (4,000 km²) of farmland worldwide. The traditional method, as used by most university laboratories, is known variously as the 'sufficiency level', sufficiency level of available nutrients (SLAN), or Index(UK) system. The sufficiency level system is concerned only with keeping plant-available nutrient levels within a well studied range, making sure there is neither a deficiency nor an excess. In the BCSR system, soil cations are balanced according to varying ratios often stated as giving 'ideal' or 'balanced' soil. These ratios can be between individual cations, such as the calcium to magnesium ratio, or they may be expressed as a percentage saturation of the cation exchange capacity (CEC) of the soil. Most 'ideal soil' theories stress both approaches.
William A. Albrecht (1888–1974) chairman of the Department of Soils at the University of Missouri, was the foremost authority on the relation of soil fertility to human health and earned four degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. As emeritus professor of soils at the University of Missouri, he saw a direct link between soil quality, food quality and human health. He drew direct connections between poor quality forage crops, and ill health in livestock and from this developed a formula for ideal ratios of cations in the soil, the Base Cation Saturation Ratio. While he did not discover cation exchange in the soil as is sometimes supposed, he may have been the first to associate it with colloidal clay particles. He served as 1939 President of the Soil Science Society of America.
Twenty years before the phrase 'environmental concern' crept into the national consciousness, he was lecturing from coast to coast on the broad topic of agricultural ecology.
" The soil is the ‘creative material’ of most of the basic needs of life. Creation starts with a handful of dust.” Dr. William A. Abrecht.
Professor Ransom Asa Moore was an agronomist and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was born 1861 in Kewaunee County, Wisconsin and died in 1941 in Madison, Wisconsin. He has been called "Father of Wisconsin 4-H", the builder and "Daddy" of the Agriculture Short Course Program, and the Father of the Agronomy Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agriculture.