From left, Kenny Melton, BASF (award sponsor), Ed Barnes, Cotton Incorporated, Kevin Bronson, 2020 recipient of the Outstanding Career Research Award in Cotton Agronomy, and Katie Lewis, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Texas Tech University.

Kevin Bronson awarded Outstanding Career Research Award

Bronson recognized for contributions to science and extension education of improved site-specific cotton and soil management.

Kevin Bronson, USDA-ARS supervisory research soil scientist, Maricopa, Arizona, is the 2020 recipient of the Outstanding Career Research Award in Cotton Agronomy.

Bronson accepted the award Jan. 10 at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences Cotton Agronomy, Physiology and Soil Conference in Austin, Texas.

Bronson is internationally recognized in nitrogen (N) soil fertility and management, N cycling, fertigation, N by irrigation management, proximal N sensing, and precision agriculture. 

Several colleagues applauded Byrd in letters of support.

"His contributions to this field have been significant as he has become internationally recognized for his body of work," says Randy Norton, director and extension agronomist, University of Arizona, Safford. "He has also been involved in cutting edge research in the field of remote sensing and in-season monitoring of crop nitrogen status for increased nitrogen use efficiency."

Bronson is described as professional, conscientious, dedicated and a hardworking individual by Jeffrey Silvertooth, associate dean and director, Extension and Economic Development, associate director, Arizona Experiment Station, Tucson, Arizona.

"He is committed and productive with his work in providing high-quality contributions in every aspect of his research program," he adds.

Bronson's current work focuses on nitrogen management, recovery efficiency, and N2O emissions in irrigated cotton. 

"I have always been impressed with his attention to detail and thoroughness in which he executes research protocols and then takes the data to develop publications that have practical application to cotton growers," says Norton. "Dr. Bronson’s involvement in the community of cotton research and Extension education has had a significant impact on other researchers and the growers served over his 30-year career. It has been a genuine pleasure having him as a colleague and collaborator in Arizona."

Drip irrigation

Bronson's early research at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Lubbock, coincided with increased adoption of subsurface drip irrigation, says Wayne Keeling, Cropping Systems/Weed Science, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Lubbock.

"Kevin’s research generated valuable information for fertility management in drip-irrigated cotton. He also contributed important soil fertility research to on-going conservation tillage/cover crop research at the Lamesa location," Keeling says.

See, Seth Byrd honored for his research, team building in cotton industry

Bronson has conducted research related to site-specific nitrogen and phosphorus management in cotton for drip and pivot irrigated production systems.

"I think the most important legacy of Kevin’s tenure at Lubbock was his work with deep sampling for residual nitrate," Keeling says. "Most producers only collected soil samples from the 0 to 6-inch depth and in sandy soils where little residual nitrate was present.  However, Kevin’s deep sampling work showed that often significant nitrate was available in the 6 to 24-inch soil depth. Those results saved producers significant dollars in fertilizer costs and reduced potential for nitrate losses through leaching or runoff."

Bronson has authored 91 peer-reviewed journal articles. He was a professor of soil fertility and nutrient management at Texas A&M AgriLife Research for 12 years and Texas Tech University for eight years. He served for five years at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines and one year with CSIRO in Perth, Australia.

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