Our Research

The Applied Soil Ecology Lab has highly productive and impactful research programs with several important agricultural foci: soil ecology, nematology, and the relationship between nutrient management and greenhouse gas emissions. Research projects are carried out under the leadership of Mario by our graduate students and expert technicians, with the help of undergraduate summer research students. Our research programs benefit from collaborations with many individuals from the academic community, private industry, and government agencies.

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Industrial Research Chair 
Long Term Field Sites
4R Nutrient Stewardship & Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Nematology
Select Completed Projects


4R Nutrient Stewardship Industrial Research Chair Program

The Industrial Research Chair in 4R Nutrient Stewardship is a 5-year research program that aims to fill important gaps in knowledge, training, and adoption of 4R practices by:

  1. Evaluating how nitrification inhibitors stabilize fertilizers and reduce N2O emissions and N losses;
  2. Initiating long-term studies to contrast the benefit of 4R practices on direct N2O emissions and indirect emissions as NH3 and leaching N losses on different soils;
  3. Improving models of N2O emissions to include 4R practices;
  4. Summarizing farm survey information to gauge current use of 4R practices; and
  5. Synthesizing findings of this IRC and other studies to forecast the extent by which the adoption of 4R practices can help Canada achieve greenhouse emission reduction commitments.

Read more about the IRC program and projects.


Long Term Field Sites

Trace Gas Manitoba

Established in 2005, TGAS-MAN is a long-term site that tests farming practices and their impact on greenhouse gas emissions, with the goal of providing empirical data to guide best management practices to lower emissions without compromising profitability. Which farming practices are tested have changed over time to address current questions as technology and farming practices evolved. These include tillage intensity, annual vs perennial cropping, fall vs spring application of anhydrous ammonia, cover cropping, and applying fertilizers with and without nitrification inhibitors. Read more about TGAS-MAN.

Trace Gas Harvest Moon

TGAS-HM was established in 2022 and is operated in parallel with TGAS-MAN with the key difference of being located on lighter well-draining soils more typical of the Canadian Prairies than the poorly draining clay soils of TGAS-MAN. These lighter soils have opened the opportunity to study indirect losses of nitrogen through nitrate leaching. The first project taking place at TGAS-HM is a study of the effect of nitrification inhibition on whole-year direct and indirect N2O emissions. Read more about TGAS-HM.

NCLE Long Term Field Site

Since 2007, a multidisciplinary team has used this site to compare how annual and mixed cropping systems respond to different types of manure and manure management practices. The goal is to reveal how these responses change over time, and how the interplay of crops and manure can be optimized for best crop growth and minimal loss of nutrients.

From 2007 to 2015, the team compared outcomes when manure is applied either annually, at rates to meet crop N requirements, or intermittently, at rates to match crop P removal over several years. In the second phase, the scope expanded to measure the capacity of the manured soil to continue to release plant-available nitrogen, phosphorus and other essential nutrients after manure applications stop and how this affects crop yield. In the third phase, now underway, research at the site has moved into the realm of soil health improvement. The team is exploring how a suite of soil-building practices can improve nitrogen uptake, phosphorus draw-down, carbon retention and additional soil health indicators while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Read more about the NCLE Long Term field site.


4R Nutrient Stewardship & Greenhouse Gas Emissions Projects

Precision 4R Management: Improving Nitrogen Use Efficiency, Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Production Economics of Canola

Years: 2023 – 2026
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U of Manitoba)
Co-Applicants: Richard Farrell (U of Saskatchewan), Chris Holzapfel (Indian Head Agricultural Research Foundation), and Cory Willness (Croptimistic Technoclogy Inc. and CropPro Consulting)
Funding Program: AAFC Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (SCAP) – AgriScience Canola Cluster
Funding Sources: Canola Council of Canada
4R N Management Practice: Rate and Source

Summary: Commercial farm fields are heterogeneous in terms of landscape position and soil properties, two factors which influence yield response to and nitrous oxide emissions from nitrogen fertilizer additions. To address this spatial variability, Precision Agriculture was developed to improve nutrient use efficiency by matching N addition-induced yield response to landscape position and soil properties within a field. For example, management zones for specific nitrogen fertilizer rates in a field based on soil properties, water regime, and topography is the basis of SWAT MAPS. This project proposes to determine the extent to which N2O emissions reductions and improved profitability of canola farms can be achieved by combining the Precision Agriculture practice of tailoring N rates to management zones with the 4R Management practice of using a nitrification inhibitor.

Three field trials will take place over three growing seasons on commercial fields in the Thick Black, Thin Black, and Dark Brown soil regions of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Experimental treatments include application of conventional urea at a conventional rate, variable application rates of conventional urea, variable application rates of a variable source (conventional urea vs urea with a nitrification inhibitor), and applying a variable source at reduced application rates to compensate for the additional cost of using an inhibitor. Treatment management zones will be determined using management zones identified by SWAT MAPS.

Can Nitrification Inhibitors and Reduced Fertilizer Nitrogen Rates be Practical Means to Reduce GHG Emissions from Field Crop Production in Manitoba?

Years: 2023 – 2026
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U of Manitoba)
Co-Applicants: Manasah Mkhabela (Manitoba Agriculture), Katherine Stanley (Manitoba Crop Alliance)
Funding Program: Discovery Grant (Individual) Program
Funding Sources: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

4R N Management Practice: Rate and Source
Summary: Manitoba farmers would benefit from implementing practical and economical ways to reduce N2O emissions from field crop production. This study will investigate two such approaches: reducing nitrogen (N) application rates and including nitrification inhibitors with fertilizer N. Field trials comparing agronomics and N2O emissions will take place during three growing seasons at four Crop Diversification Centres in Manitoba, for a total of 12 site-years. Experimental treatments include sustained additions of 100, 90 and 70% of recommended N, and 100% N application with and without the dual nitrification and urease inhibitor SuperU®.


Nematology

Select Completed Projects

Survival and Infectivity of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) Virus in Soil

Years: 2020-2023
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Co-Applicant: Peter Pelka (U Manitoba)
Funding Program: Research and Development, Science Cluster
Funding Sources: Manitoba Pork Council, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Advancing the Canadian Swine Sector Through Environmental Footprint Analyses

Years: 2018-2023
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Co-Investigators: Bernard Goyette (AAFC), Candido Pomar (AAFC), Derek Brewin (U Manitoba), Laurie Connor (U Manitoba), Martin Entz (U of Manitoba), Martin Nyachoti (U Manitoba), Qiang Zhang (U Manitoba), Roland Kroebel (AAFC), Shabtai Bittman (AAFC), Shannan Little (AAFC)
Funding Program: Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) AgriScience Program – Swine Science Cluster
Funding Sources: Swine Innovation Porc (SIP), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

Verticillium Stripe

Years: 2019-2023
Principle Applicant: Dilantha Fernando (U Manitoba)
Co-Applicant: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Funding Program: Canadian Agricultural Program(CAP) Science Cluster
Funding Sources: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Canola Council of Canada

Can Cover Crops Reduce Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Agricultural Soils?

Years: 2018-2023
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Funding Program: Discovery Grant Program
Funding Sources: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

Canadian Potato Early Dying Network (CanPEDNet)

Years: 2019-2023
Principle Investigator: Dahu Chen (AAFC)
Co-Applicant: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Collaborators: Katerina Jordan (U Guelph), Gefu Wang-Pruski (Dalhousie U), David Burton (Dalhousie U), Dmytro Yevtushenko (Lethbridge), Bernie Zebarth (AAFC), Benjamin Mimee (AAFC), Tanya Aseneault (AAFC), Allison Nelson (AAFC), Judith Nyiraneza (AAFC), Louis-Pierre Comeau (AAFC), Claudia Goyer (AAFC), Emily Snowdon (AAFC), Helga Miehle (), Herve van der Heyden (AAFC), Khalil Al-Mughrabi (Agriculture, Aquaculture, and Fisheries New Brunswick), Sebastian Ibarra (BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development)
Funding Program: Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) AgriScience Program – Horticulture Science Cluster
Funding Sources: Bayer Inc., Potatoes New Brunswick, Manitoba Horiculture Productivity and Enhancement Centre, PEI Potato Board, AMVAC, Cavendish Farms, Canadian Horticulture Council (CHC), McCains Foods Ltd.

Testing the Cover Crop Hypothesis Across Prairie Canada

Years: 2018-2023
Principle Investigator: Yvonne Lawley (U Manitoba)
Co-Applicant: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Co-Investigators: Richard Farrell (U Saskatchewan), Kate Congreves (U Saskatchewan)
Funding Program: Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) AgriScience Program – Integrated Agronomy Science Cluster
Funding Sources: Western Grains Foundation, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Vigilance towards plant nematodes to sustain pulse production on the Canadian Prairies

Years: 2018-2023
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Co-Applicants: Tom Forge (AAFC), Francis Larney (AAFC), Syma Chatterton (AAFC)
Funding Program: Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) Pulse Science Cluster
Funding Sources: Pulse Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Alberta Pulse Growers, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers

CREATE Climate Smart Soils (CREATE-CSS)

Years: 2019-2022
Principle Investigator: Claudia Wagner-Riddle (U Guelph)
Co-Applicant(s): Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba), Martin Entz (U Manitoba), Kate Congreves (U Saskatchewan), Kerri Dunfield (U Guelph), Myrna Simpson (U Toronto), David Burton (Dalhousie U)
Funding Sources: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

Cross-Canada Agronomic and Environmental Benefit of Advanced 4R N Management of Corn

Years: 2018-2022
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Co-Applicants: Craig Drury (AAFC), David Hooker (U Guelph), Joann Whalen (McGill U), Jean-Sebastién Parent (AAFC), Curtis Cavers (AAFC)
Funding Program: Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) AgriScience Program – Corn Science Cluster
Funding Sources: Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance (CFCRA), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Fertilizer Canada, Nutrien, KOCH Agronomic Services, Manitoba Corn Producers, Grain Farmers of Ontario

Optimal Source, Placement and Application Timing for Yield and Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Footprint for Canola Production on Light Texture Soils on the Canadian Prairies

Years: 2018-2022
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Funding Program: Canola Agronomic Research Program (CARP)
Funding Sources: Canola Council of Canada, Nutrien, Corteva

Integration of feeding, animal and manure management practices to reduce whole farm GHG emissions and improve nutrient utilization in cow-calf operations

Years: 2017-2022
Principle Investigator: Kim Ominksi (U Manitoba)
Co-Applicant: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Funding Program: Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Program (AGGP)
Funding Sources: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Building Soil Health on Farmed Clay Soil in Manitoba

Years: 2019-2022
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Funding Program: Manitoba Canada Agriculture Partnership (CAP)
Funding Sources: Government of Manitoba

Cover Cropping Benefit to N2O Emission Reductions and Soil Carbon Storage for Oat Production in the Red River Valley of Manitoba

Years: 2018-2021
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Funding Sources: General Mills

Manitoba Survey and Molecular Quantification of Soybean Cyst Nematode

Years: 2017-2020
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Funding Program: Research Grant Program
Funding Sources: Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers (MPSG)

A Matter of Timing and Source: Enhanced Efficiency Nitrogen Fertilizers and Products to Reduce Nitrous Oxide Emissions in the Prairie Provinces

Years: 2015-2018
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Co-Investigators: Richard Farrell (U Saskatchewan), Guillermo Hernandez-Ramirez (U Alberta)
Funding Sources: Emissions Reduction Alberta

Nitrogen for Improved Yield, Quality and Profitability of Potato

Years: 2013-2018
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Co-Investigator: Michele Konschuh (Government of Alberta)
Funding Program: Growing Forward Science Cluster II
Funding Sources: Canadian Horticulture Council (CHC)

Survey of Nematode Pests of Pulse Crops and Development of Rapid Molecular Quantification of the Soybean Cyst Nematode in Soil

Years: 2013-2018
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Co-Investigators: Tom Welacky (AAFC), Qing Yu (AAFC), Alberta Tenuta (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)
Funding Program: Pulse Science Cluster II
Funding Sources: Saskatchewan Pulse Growers

Timing and Source Effects of Fertilizer Nitrogen on N2O Emissions from Spring Wheat

Years: 2014-2018
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Funding Program: AgriInnovate – Canadian Agriculture Partnership (CAP))
Funding Sources: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

Soybeans for Improved Soil Health: Determination of Lower than Predicted Contribution of Pulse Crop Residues to Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Years: 2015-2018
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Funding Program: Research Grants Program
Funding Sources: Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers (MPSG)

Evaluation of Polymer Coated Urea to Reduce Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Soil

Years: 2010-2018
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Funding Sources: Agrium Inc.

A Matter of Timing and Source: Enhanced Efficiency Nitrogen Fertilizers and Products to Reduce Nitrous Oxide Emissions in the Prairie Provinces

Years: 2016-2018
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Co-Investigators: Richard Farrell (U Saskatchewan), Guillermo Hernandez-Ramirez (U Alberta)
Funding Sources: Agriculture Funding Consortium

Development of Greenhouse Neutral Cropping Systems: Soil N2O Emissions from N Fertilizer Management Options and Organic Production Systems

Years: 2013-2018
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Funding Program: Discovery Grant Program
Funding Sources: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

Verticillium longisporum in Manitoba: Understanding the Pathogen and Establishing Surveillance Capacity

Years: 2016-2017
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Co-Investigator: Lee Anne Murphy (Pest Surveillance Institute)
Funding Program: Canola Agronomic Research Program (CARP)
Funding Sources: Canola Council of Canada

Canola Response and Minimizing Nitrogen Losses in Two-Pass Seeding-Fertilization Systems with Varying Placement Methods in Manitoba

Years: 2014-2017
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Funding Program: Canola Agronomic Research Program (CARP)
Funding Sources: Canola Council of Canada

Development of a Rapid and Sensitive Triplex Nested Real-time PCR Method for Quantification of Verticillium in Soil

Years: 2013-2017
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Funding Program: Horticulture Science Cluster II
Funding Sources: Canadian Horticulture Council (CHC)

Detection and Quantification of Nitrous Oxide Gas from Agriculture Fields

Years: 2013-2016
Principle Investigator: Gautam Das (Lakehead U)
Co-Applicant: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Funding Program: Collaborative Research and Development
Funding Sources: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

Beneficial Management Practices for Greenhouse Gas Mitigation from Agroecosystems, with Emphasis on Cow-calf Non-confinement Production Systems in Western Canada

Years: 2011-2016
Principle Investigator: Brian Amiro (U Manitoba)
Co-Applicants: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba), Kim Ominski (U Manitoba), Wole Akinremi (U Manitoba)
Funding Program: Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Program (AGGP)
Funding Sources: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

Survey for Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) and Development of Diagnostic Capacity in Manitoba

Years: 2013-2014
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Funding Sources: Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers (MPSG)

Utilization of Processed Hog Manure Separation Products in Manitoba

Years: 2011-2014
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Funding Program: Canada Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP)
Funding Sources: Manitoba Pork, Manitoba Horticulture Productivity Enhancement Centre

Development of Soybean Cyst Nematode Molecular Diagnostic Capacity in Ontario Activation Laboratories

Years: 2012-2013
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Funding Program: Canada Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP)
Funding Sources: Activation Laboratories

Determination of Host Status of Field Pea and its Associated Rotation Crops and Weeds to the Stem and Bulb Nematode in the Canadian Prairies

Years: 2011-2013
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Funding Sources: Alberta Innovates

Determination of Greenhouse Gas Release from an Irrigated Field Research Trial in Manitoba

Years: 2011-2013
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Funding Sources: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

Relation of Nitrogen Fertilizer Source and Placement to Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Irrigated Potato in Manitoba

Years: 2011-2013
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Funding Program: Manitoba Sustainability Initiative
Funding Sources: Manitoba Agriculture

Multiple Benefits of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Through Inclusion of Perennials in Cropping Systems

Years: 2008-2012
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Funding Program: Discovery Grant Program
Funding Sources: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

Determining Manitoba-based Reduction Modifiers for the Nitrous Oxide Reduction Program (NERP)

Years: 2010-2012
Principle Investigator: Mario Tenuta (U Manitoba)
Funding Program: Canada Agriculture Adaptation Program (CAAP)
Funding Sources: Fertilizer Canada


Last Updated: September 21, 2023

Welcome to the Applied Soil Ecology Lab at the University of Manitoba