This article at Grist.com highlights some UI research that has got some people stirred up here on campus and out in the state. It is an incredible challenge to the conventional ag party line that has reigned supreme here for so long. But these researchers are not newbies. They’ve all been here a long time, they all have tremendous clout, and they are standing firm, doing what tenured researchers are supposed to do — challenging the status quo and thinking outside the proverbial box.
…the trio argues that the net effect of synthetic nitrogen use is to reduce soil’s organic matter content. Why? Because, they posit, nitrogen fertilizer stimulates soil microbes, which feast on organic matter. Over time, the impact of this enhanced microbial appetite outweighs the benefits of more crop residues.
Read the whole article. It contains links to the published papers.