‘MTSU On the Record’ discusses plantin...

‘MTSU On the Record’ discusses planting ‘cover crops’ to regulate soil temperature

Agricultural research that could lead to greater crop production was the subject of a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Samuel Haruna, an assistant professor of plant and soil science in MTSU’s School of Agribusiness and Agriscience, first aired Feb. 13 on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and You can listen to their conversation above.

Dr. Samuel Haruna

Haruna’s work to date seems to suggest that planting “cover crops” and “perennial biofuel crops” can help regulate soil temperature and lead to better cash crop production.

Farmers plant “cover crops” among their cash crops — those grown for sale to return a profit, such as tobacco, wheat, corn and soybeans — to protect against extreme soil temperatures. Cover crops — which include oats, barley, rye grass and clovers — accomplish this by reducing soil water evaporation and adding organic matter to the soil.

WMOT Roots Radio-new logo-2017 web “Perennial biofuel crops” are considered to be potential replacements for corn in the manufacture of ethanol. Examples include miscanthus and switchgrass.

“Crops are more susceptible to changes in soil temperature than they are to changes in atmospheric temperature because that’s where the roots are,” Haruna said. “That’s where they take up nutrients. That’s where they take up water.

“So if you change the soil temperature ever so slightly to what the plants are not used to, then you begin to have problems with crop growth and crop productivity.”

To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at

For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.