Dr. Kate Congreves is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan. She has a Ph.D. in Land Resource Science from the University of Guelph, a B.Sc. in Biology from Queen’s University, and a B.Ed. also from Queen’s. Her research program is focused on the development of sustainable cropping systems. It is her goal to inform better nutrient management practices for maintaining and enhancing soil health and fertility, while also reducing nutrient loss and environmental degradation. She studies the effects of fertility regimes, crop rotations, crop residue management, cover crops, and tillage systems on soil biogeochemistry (carbon and nitrogen cycling) and crop nutrition in intensive cropping systems, with particular interest in intensive vegetable production.

“Soil Organic Matters for Soil Health”:
Healthy soils provide important ecosystem services necessary for sustainable crop production (such as carbon sequestration, nutrient recycling, water filtration, etc). Agricultural practices which maintain or enhance soil health will therefore contribute to the long-term resilience and productivity of soils. Soil organic matter is often considered the most important factor in determining soil health. So, a better understanding of the changes which occur to soil organic matter and its chemical composition will help us ensure that agricultural soils keep producing resilient crops for years to come. This talk will address why we should care about soil organic matter, what soil organic matter actually is in the first place, how science has changed our understanding of soil organic matter, and how soil organic matter can be lost or built depending on soil type and management.