Soil Microbiome Studies Reveal Impact of Continuous Corn

Soil microbiome studies led by Nakian Kim at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign showed the effects of continuous corn cropping and long-term nitrogen fertilization. Kim found that two years’ use of cover crops can’t undo decades of soil microbial dynamics in response to continuous corn and heavy nitrogen fertilizer use. “In the Midwest, our soils are healthy and resilient, but we shouldn’t overestimate them. A soil under unsustainable practices for too long might reach an irreversible threshold,” Kim says.