Dr. Elizabeth (Libby) Dayton is a Connecticut native who became interested in science and nature at a young age. After earning her degree in environmental science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, she decided to continue growing her expertise in soil. More than a decade later, soil is still her passion. She enjoys digging into soil contamination issues and analyzing data as a research soil scientist at The Ohio State University.
Dayton’s recent work centers on helping soybean farmers determine their risk for phosphorus runoff and erosion based on real-world data. During the past three years, Dayton and her team collected more than 14,000 edge-of-field runoff samples from over 2,000 runoff events and soil samples from 29 fields in eight Ohio counties. Now growers can use that data to compare management practices and make improvements to their farms that protect water quality and maintain soil productivity through On-Field Ohio.
On-Field Ohio will not only help farmers compare practices, it will also allow users to run simulations to understand how crop management decisions affect broad landscapes. By comparing practices like minimal tillage, cover crops and different fertilizer/manure placement methods, On-Field Ohio will enable farmers and educators connect the environmental dots to reach targeted erosion and phosphorus runoff goals.
“Adoption of On-Field Ohio can help farmers move the needle on water quality. The next big challenge is to promote its implementation,” said Dayton.
She is grateful to the Ohio soybean checkoff and its farmers for their financial support of On-Field Ohio as well as their collaboration and commitment to good environmental stewardship. With continued engagement, Dayton has the opportunity to pursue her passion while creating a more sustainable and productive future for Ohio agriculture.