Student Research Spotlight - Hayley Crowell
Hometown: Boca Raton, Florida
Major: Master’s degree in agronomy and soil science
Department: Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences
Class year: 2020
Faculty mentor: Audrey Gamble
Impacts of Winter Grazing on Southeastern Cropping Systems
What are you researching?
I am studying the effects an integrated crop-livestock system has on soil health. Basically, the system integrates grazing livestock during the winter with the cash crop growth period of summer, which can be beneficial to producers since they can use the land year-round. We want to know the impact on soil health with this type of system because soil health is crucial to maintaining a healthy cropping system.
How could the results benefit individuals, agencies or companies?
This research will provide information to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, which is an agricultural outreach organization that is specific to land-grant universities, like Auburn. Alabama Extension can use the results to provide guidelines to producers who are interested in integrating livestock during the winter between their cash crop period.
Tell us why you enjoy research.
I love this research because it is very interdisciplinary. It combines animal science, nutrient management, soil microbiology, soil chemistry and more, so I am always learning. Agricultural research is exciting and meaningful because it is essential to find ways to sustainably feed a growing global population.
What advice would you give to other students considering doing a research project?
If you're curious and enjoy being a part of a team, do it! It's much easier—and more fun—to learn from experience than in a classroom. Even if you're unsure of what you want to do as a career, doing research is very fulfilling and can help you narrow down what you're interested in, or not interested in.
Tell us about any hobbies or activities you enjoy.
I absolutely love to travel and be outside. Just a few months ago, over winter break, I hiked to Mt. Everest Base Camp in Nepal. I also enjoy studying wine, which is something I gained interest in after working for six months in a vineyard and wine lab in Napa Valley. I am currently earning certifications in wine studies outside of my school work.