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Ohio State University Extension


New Soil Fertility Specialist at OSU – Steve Culman

I’m writing to introduce myself as the new soil fertility specialist at Ohio State. It’s great to join such a vibrant research and extension team and I’m looking forward to meeting and working with many of you. I was born and raised in Cincinnati Ohio, so getting a job at OSU is a homecoming of sorts for me. My expertise is in soil fertility and nutrient cycling, organic matter dynamics and soil food webs. I’ve worked in a wide variety of agricultural systems, including tallgrass prairies and croplands in Kansas, horticulture and croplands in California, rice-wheat systems in Nepal and corn-soybean-wheat systems in Michigan. I’ve got a lot to learn about agronomic systems in Ohio, but that’s what makes my job so fun!

I plan to focus my research and extension program on the timely and efficient use of fertilizers, on developing farmer-based and in-field methods of nutrient management, and on long-term management strategies to build organic matter and soil fertility. One of my first priorities will be working to update the current fertilizer recommendations in Ohio. We are starting a project this spring to look at P and K in soybeans and we are looking for farmers that are interesting in participating. The project is outlined below.

I’m looking forward to helping serve the needs of Ohio farmers. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you might have ( or (330) 263-3787).

Updating P and K recommendations in Soybeans

With support from the Ohio Soybean Council, Ohio State is starting a large effort to update the current fertility recommendations for soybeans in Ohio. We will cast a broad net to collect data from a large number of farms across the state and determine updated P and K fertilization rates for soybeans.

In order to be successful, we need help. On-farm cooperators (both farmers and county educators) will have a large degree of flexibility in the layout and management of their fields. Experiments could involve either applying additional fertilizer to plots or applying no fertilizer to plots. Growers can determine fertility rates. We are ideally looking for farms that help capture a diversity of soil types and soil test P and K ranges. Since our research farms typically have high P and K levels, low soil test P and K farms are of particular interest. We are also looking for small fields (<2 acres) available in Western Ohio to rent for contracted fertility work. Farmers and educators will be paid for their time and effort.

Field map layout with either P or K (6 strips total)

Rep 1     Rep 2     Rep 3  
Control +P or K   +P or K Control   Control +P or K


 Field map layout with both P and K (9 strips total) 

  Rep 1       Rep 2       Rep 3  
Control +P +K   +P Control +K   +K Control +P

 Data Collection (collected on every plot)

  • Soil sample in fall/ at planting
  • Collect soybean leaves at R1 (first flowering)
  • Soybean grain yield at harvest and retain grain for analysis

 Interested cooperators please contact Steve Culman at

Crop Observation and Recommendation Network

C.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.