John T Spargo

John T Spargo

  • Associate Research Professor &
  • Director, Agricultural Analytical Services Lab
111 Ag Analytical Srvcs Lab
University Park, PA 16802

Areas of Expertise

  • Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management
  • Agricultural and Environmental Analytical Testing


  • Ph.D. Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2008
  • M.S. Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2004
  • B.S. Agronomy, Texas A&M University, 2002

Selected Publications

Slaton, N. A., Lyons, S. E., Osmond, D. L., Brouder, S. M., Culman, S. W., Drescher, G., Gatiboni, L. C., Hoben, J., Kleinman, P. J. A., McGrath, J. M., Miller, R. O., Pearce, A., Shober, A. L., Spargo, J. T. & Volenec, J. J. 2022. Minimum dataset and metadata guidelines for soil-test correlation and calibration research Soil Science Society of America Journal. 86:19-33.

Church, C., R. Hedin, R. Bryant, A. Wolfe, J.T. Spargo, K. Elkin, L. Saporito, & P. Kleinman. 2021. Phosphorus runoff from soils receiving liquid dairy and swine manures amended with mine drainage residuals. American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 37: 351-358

Culman, S. W., C. Brock, D. Doohan, D. Jackson-Smith, C. Herms, V.N. Chaganti, M. Kleinhenz, C.D. Sprunger, & J.T. Spargo. Base cation saturation ratios vs. sufficiency level of nutrients: a false dichotomy in practice. American Society of Agronomy Journal. 113:5623-5634

Benavides, B. J., Drohan, P. J., Spargo, J. T., Maximova, S., Guiltinan, M., & Miller, D. A. 2021. Cadmium phytoextraction by Helianthus annuus (sunflower), Brassica napus cv Wichita (rapeseed), and Chyrsopogon zizanioides (vetiver). Chemosphere, 265.

Hedin, R., Hedin, B., Spargo, J. T. (Author), & Brimmer, R. (2020). Characteristics of solids produced from coal mine drainage and their suitability for phosphorus control in dairy manure management. Journal of Environmental Quality, 49:1502-1514.

Lyons, S., Osmond, D., Slaton, N., Spargo, J. T., Kleinman, P., Arthur, D., & McGrath, J. FRST: A national soil testing database to improve fertility recommendations. Agric Environ Lett. 5:20008.

Ackroyd, V.J., M.A. Cavigelli, J.T. Spargo, B. Davis, G. Garst, and S.B. Mirsky. 2019. Legume cover crops reduce poultry litter application requirements in organic systems. Agron. J. 111:2361-2369.

Liu, J, J.T. Spargo, P. Kleinman, R. Meinen, P.A. Moore, D.B. Beegle. 2018. Water extractable phosphorus in animal manure and manure compost: Quantities, characteristics, and temporal changes. J Environ Qual. 47:471-479

Morris, T.F., T.S. Murrell, D.B. Beegle, J.J. Camberato, R.B. Ferguson, J. Grove, Q. Ketterings, P.M.  Kyveryga, C.A.M. Laboski, J. M., McGrath, J.J. Meisinger, J. Melkonian, B.N. Moebius-Clune, E.D. Nafziger, D. Osmond, J.E. Sawyer, P.C. Scharf, W. Smith, J.T. Spargo, H.M. van Es, H. Yang. 2018. Strengths and limitations of nitrogen rate recommendations for corn and opportunities for improvement. Agron. J. 110:1-37

Church, C., J.T. Spargo, S. Fishel. 2017. Strong Acid Extraction Methods for “Total Phosphorus” in Soils: EPA Method 3050B and EPA Method 3051. Agric Environ Lett. 2:160037

Mirsky, S.B., J.T. Spargo, W.S. Curran, S.C. Reberg-Horton, M.R. Ryan, H.H. Schomberg, and V.J. Ackroyd. 2017. Characterizing cereal rye biomass and allometric relationships across a range of fall available n rates in the Eastern US. Agron. J. 109:1520-1531

Mirsky, S.B., V.J. Ackroyd, S. Cordeau, W.S. Curran, M. Hashemi, S.C. Reberg-Horton, M. Ryan, and J.T. Spargo. 2017. Hairy vetch biomass across the Eastern United States: Effects of latitude, seeding rate and date, and termination timing. Agron. J. 109:1-10

Spargo, J.T., M.A. Cavigelli, S.B. Mirsky, J.J. Meisinger, V.J. Ackroyd. 2016. Organic supplemental nitrogen sources for field corn production after a hairy vetch cover crop. Agron. J. 108:1-11

Keshavarz, A.R., M. Hashemi, M. DaCosta, J.T. Spargo, A. Sadeghpour. 2016. Biochar application and drought stress effects on physiological characteristics of responses of Silybum marianum.  Comm. Soil Sci. Plant Anal. 47:743-752.

Poffenbarger, H.J., S.B. Mirsky, R.R. Weil, M. Kramer, J.T. Spargo. and M.A. Cavigelli, 2015. Legume proportion, poultry litter, and tillage effects on cover crop decomposition. Agron. J. 107:2083-2096.

Poffenbarger, H.J., S.B. Mirsky, J.R. Teasdale, J.T. Spargo, M.A. Cavigelli, and M. Kramer. 2015. Nitrogen competition between corn and weeds in soils under organic and conventional management. Weed Sci. 63:461-476.

Poffenbarger, H.J., S.B. Mirsky, R.R. Weil, J. E. Maul, M. Kramer, J.T. Spargo, and M.A. Cavigelli. 2015. Biomass and Nitrogen Content of Hairy Vetch–Cereal Rye Cover Crop Mixtures as Influenced by Species Proportions. Agronomy Journal. 107:2069-2082.

Sadeghpour, A. M. Hashemi, S.A. Weis, J.T. Spargo, S. Mehrvarz, E. Jahanzad, and S.J. Herbert. 2015. Assessing tillage systems for reducing ammonia volatilization from spring-applied slurry manure.  Comm. Plant Soil Anal. 46:724–735, 2015

Cavigelli, M. A., Teasdale, J. R., and Spargo, J. T. 2013. Increasing crop rotation diversity improves agronomic, economic, and environmental performance of organic grain cropping systems at the USDA-ARS Beltsville Farming Systems Project. Online: Crop Management doi:10.1094/CM-2013-0429-02-PS

Ebdon, J. S., M. DaCosta, J. T. Spargo and W. M. Dest. 2013. Long term effects of nitrogen and potassium fertilization on shoot growth, soil and tissue potassium in perennial ryegrass turf. Crop Sci Soc Am J. 53:1750-1761.

Mirsky, S.B., M.R. Ryan, J.R. Teasdale, W.S. Curran, C.R. Reberg-Horton, J.T. Spargo, S.M. Wells, C.L. Keene, and J.W. Moyer. 2013.  Overcoming weed management challenges in cover crop-based organic rotational no-till soybean production in the eastern US. Weed Technology. 27:193-203.

Cavigelli, M.A., S.B. Mirsky, J.R. Teasdale, J.T. Spargo, and J. Doran. 2013. Organic management systems to enhance ecosystem services. Renewable Agricultural and Food Systems. 28: 145–159.

Spargo, J.T., M.A. Cavigelli, M.M. Alley, J.E. Maul, J.S. Buyer, C.H. Sequeira, and R.F. Follett. 2012. Changes in soil organic carbon and nitrogen fractions with duration of no-tillage management. Soil Sci Soc Am J. 76:1642-1633.

Teasdale, J.R., S.B. Mirsky, J.T. Spargo, M.A. Cavigelli, J.E. Maul. 2012. Reduced-tillage organic corn production in a hairy vetch cover crop. Agron J. 104:621-628.

Culman, S.W., S.S. Snapp, M.E. Schipanski, M.A. Freeman, J. Beniston, L.E. Drinkwater, A.J. Franzluebbers, J.D. Glover, A. S. Grandy, R. Lal, J. Lee, J.E. Maul, S.B. Mirsky, J. Six, J.T. Spargo, M.M. Wander. 2012. Permanganate oxidizable carbon reflects a processed soil fraction that is sensitive to management. Soil Sci Soc Am J. 76:494–504.

Mirsky, S.B., M.R. Ryan, W.S. Curran, J.R. Teasdale, J.E. Maul, J.T. Spargo, J. Moyer, A.M. Grantham, D. Webber, T.R. Way. 2012. Conservation tillage issues: Cover crop-based organic rotational no-till grain production in the Mid-Atlantic region. RenewAg Food Sys. 27:31–40

Spargo, J.T., Cavigelli, M.A., Mirsky, S.B., Maul, J.E., Meisinger, J.J. 2011. Mineralizable soil nitrogen and labile soil organic matter in diverse long-term cropping systems. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems. 90:253-266.