H. Allen Torbert

Affiliate Professor

(334) 844-3979 


Get In Touch

201 Funchess Hall
Auburn Univ, AL 36849



  • 1989 Ph.D., University of Illinois (Agronomy and Soils)
  • 1985 M.S., Auburn University (Agronomy and Soils)
  • 1983 B.S., Auburn University (Agronomy and Soils)


  • 2005-present Research Leader, USDA-ARS Auburn, AL
  • 2004-2005 GS-15 Lead Scientist, USDA-ARS Auburn, AL
  • 2003-present Affiliate Full Professor (Auburn University)
  • 2001-2003 GS-14 Lead Scientist, USDA-ARS Auburn, AL
  • 2000-present Adjunct Full Professor (Texas A&M University)
  • 1999-2000 GS-14 Soil Scientist, USDA-ARS Temple, TX
  • 1995-1999 Affiliate Associate Professor (Auburn University)
  • 1992-1995 GS-12/13 Soil Scientist, USDA-ARS Temple, TX
  • 1989-1992 Affiliate Assistant Professor (Auburn University)
  • 1989 GS-11 Post Doctorate, USDA-ARS NSDL, Auburn, AL


  • 2009 – Elected Fellow Soil Science Society of America
  • 2008 – Elected Fellow American Society of Agronomy
  • 2003 – Southern Branch of the American Society of Agronomy Career Award in Research
  • 2001 – Research Product Development Team Award , US Army Corps of Engineers Construction Engineering Research Laboratory
  • 2001 – Journal of Soil and Water Conservation – Paper of the Year, Honorable Mention
  • 2000 – USDA-ARS Special Recognition, for contribution made in mentoring science teachers in FIRST STEP Project
  • 1997 Outstanding reviewer, Journal of Environmental Quality
  • 1998 Special Recognition from USDA-ARS and Texas A&M University – for mentoring science teachers in FIRST STEP Project


  • Associate Editor, Soil Science Society of America Journal (2000-2006).
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Environmental Quality (2012-2014).
  • Member, Soil Science Society of Agronomy committee working with the Smithsonian Institute to develop plans for a soil exhibit at the Smithsonian’s Natural Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C., (2002).
  • Member of the Soil Science Society of America Book Series committee, Emil Truog Soil Science Award Committee, Soil Science Applied Research Award” committee, New Fellows committee, and Chair for the Soil fertility division (2006)
  • Member of the American Society of Agronomy Environmental Quality Research Award committee, New Fellows committee, and Leader of the Military Land Use and Management community (2011).
  • Elected as Treasurer of International Soil Tillage Research Organization (ISTRO).



As ARS Research Leader, 2005 – present:
My assignment is that of a Supervisory Soil Scientist and Research Leader of the USDA, ARS National Soil Dynamics Laboratory, Auburn, AL. As the Research Leader, responsibilities include managing coordinating research programs for the laboratory which has the mission to develop technologies and strategies for managing soils that increase adoption of sustainable production/cropping systems, particularly conservation systems that reduce economic risk and farm production costs; improving soil quality and productivity; and relating agriculture to global change. Specific research focuses on improving methods for waste application to maximize plant nutrient use efficiencies, while minimizing pollution potential. Other important objectives of the research program are to develop conservation systems that reduce drought risk of cash crops, develop environmentally sound waste management systems, and determine the effects of atmospheric CO2 levels on above- and below ground processes that affect crop production, soil carbon storage and trace gas emissions.


  1. Watts, D.B., H.A. Torbert, and S.A. Prior. 2010. Soil properties and landscape position affects on seasonal nitrogen mineralization of composted dairy manures. Soil Science 175:27-35.
  2. Sistani, K.R., C. Bolster, H.A. Torbert, T. Way, D.H. Pote, and D.B. Watts. 2010. Influences of poultry litter application methods on the longevity of nutrient and E. coli in runoff from Tall Fescue Pasture. Water Air and Soil Pollution 206:3-12.
  3. Busby, R., D.L. Gebhart, H.A. Torbert, J.O. Dawson, G.A. Bollero, K.N. Potter, and D. Curtin. 2010. Effects of a new waste processing byproduct on soil and vegetation at Fort Campbell, TN. Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal. 41:250-266.
  4. Watts, D.B., H.A. Torbert, S.A. Prior, and G. Huluka. 2010. Long-term tillage and poultry litter impacts soil carbon and nitrogen mineralization and fertility. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. 74:1239-1247.
  5. Smith, K.E., Runion, G.B., Prior, S.A., Rogers, H.H., and Torbert, H.A. 2010. Greenhouse gas flux from agricultural soil: Impacts of 10 years of management and elevated CO2. Soil Sci. 175:349-356.
  6. Adesemoye, A.O., H.A. Torbert, and J.W. Kloepper. 2010. Increased plant uptake of nitrogen from 15N-depleted fertilizer using plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria . Applied Soil Ecology 66:54-58.
  7. Marble, S.C., C.H. Gilliam, J L. Sibley, G.B. Fain, H.A. Torbert, T.V. Gallagher, and J.W. Olive. 2010. Evaluation of Composted Poultry Litter as a Substrate Amendment for WholeTree, Clean Chip Residual, and Pinebark for Container Grown Woody Nursery Crops. J. Environ Hort. 28:107-116.
  8. Watts, D.B., H.A. Torbert, Y. Feng, and S.A. Prior. 2010. Soil microbial community dynamics as influenced by soil properties and landscape position. Soil Science 175:474-486.
  9. Murphy, A., C.H. Gilliam, G.B. Fain, H.A. Torbert, T.V. Gallagher, J.L. Sibley, S.C. Marble, and A.L. Witcher. 2010. Extending pine bark supplies with wholetree and clean chip residual substrates. J. Environ. Hort. 28:217-223.
  10. Prior, S.A., G.B. Runion, S.C. Marble, H.H. Rogers, H.A. Torbert, C.H. Gilliam. 2011. A review of elevated atmospheric CO2 effects on plant growth and water relations: implications for horticulture. HortScience 46(2):158-162.
  11. Marble, S.C., S.A. Prior, G.B. Runion, H.A. Torbert, C.H. Gilliam, and G.B. Fain. 2011. The importance of determining carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas mitigation potential in ornamental horticulture. HortScience 46(2):240–244.
  12. Way, T.R., D.B. Watts, K.E. Smith, H.A. Torbert. 2011. Calculation of effective gas flux from soil following band application of manure or fertilizer. Trans. Am. Soc. Agric. Biol. Engin. 54:337-345.
  13. Watts, D.B., T.R. Way, and H.A. Torbert. 2011. Subsurface application of poultry litter and its influence on nutrient losses in runoff water from permanent pastures. J. Environ. Qual. 40:421-430.
  14. Watts, D.B., and H.A. Torbert. 2011. Long-Term Tillage and Poultry Litter Impacts on Soybean and Corn Grain Yield. Agron. J. 103:1479-1486.
  15. Murphy, A.M., C.H. Gilliam, G.B. Fain, H.A. Torbert, T.V. Gallagher, J.L. Sibley and C.R. Boyer. 2011. Low-value trees as alternative substrates in greenhouse production of three annual species. J. Environ. Hort. 29:152-161.
  16. Nyakatawa, E.Z., D.A. Mays, T.R. Way, H.A. Torbert, D.R. Smith, and D.B. Watts. 2011. Tillage and Fertilizer Management Effects on Soil Emissions of Methane and Nitrous Oxide.   Applied and Environ. Soil Sci.
  17. Marble, S.C., J.L. Sibley, C.H. Gilliam, and H.A. Torbert. 2011. Application of Composted Poultry Litter as a Fertilizer for Landscape Bedding Plants. HortScience 46(10):1367-1372.
  18. Fortuna, A., C.W. Honeycutt, G. Vandemark, T.S. Griffin, R.P. Larkin, Z. He, B.J. Wienhold, K.R. Sistani, S.L. Albrecht, B.L. Woodbury, H.A. Torbert, J.M. Powell, R.K. Hubbard, R.A. Eigenberg, R.J. Wright, J.R. Alldredge, and J.B. Harsh. 2012. Links among nitrification, nitrifier communities, and edaphic properties in contrasting soils receiving dairy slurry.   J. Environ Qual. 41:262-272.
  19. Torbert, H.A., H.W. Polley, and H.B. Johnson. 2012. Nitrogen and carbon cycling in a grassland community ecosystem as affected by elevated atmospheric CO2. International J. Agron. Article ID 817343. doi:10.1155/2012/817343.
  20. Boyer, C.R., H.A. Torbert, C.H. Gilliam, G.B. Fain, T.V. Gallagher, and J.L. Sibley. 2012. Nitrogen immobilization in plant growth substrates: clean chip residual, pine bark and peat moss. International J. Agron.. Article ID 978528. doi:10.1155/2012/978528,
  21. Prior, S.A., G.B. Runion, H.A. Torbert, S.B. Idso, B.A. Kimball. 2012. Sour orange fine root distribution after seventeen years of atmospheric CO2 enrichment. Agric. Forest Meterology. 162-163:85-90.
  22. Watts, D.B., K.E. Smith, and H.A. Torbert. 2012. Impact of poultry litter cake, cleanout, and bedding following chemical amendments on soil C and N mineralization. International J. Agron,. Article ID 204629, doi:10.1155/2012/204629. .
  23. Boyer, C.R., T.V. Gallagher, C.H. Gilliam, G.B. Fain, H.A. Torbert, and J.L. Sibley. 2012. Description of clean chip residual forest harvest and its availability for horticultural uses in the southeastern United States. HortTechnology 22:381-387.
  24. Marble, S.C., S.A. Prior, G.B. Runion, H.A. Torbert, C.H. Gilliam, G.F. Fain, S.F. Sibley, and P.R. Knight.   2012.   Effects of fertilizer placement on trace gas emissions from nursery container production. HortScience 47:1056-1062.
  25. Torbert, H.A., D.B. Watts. 2012. Nitrogen mineralization in production agriculture.   International J. Agron. Article ID 989365. doi:10.1155/2012/989365,
  26. Marble, C.S. G.B. Fain, C.H. Gilliam, G.B. Runion, S.A. Prior, H.A. Torbert, and D.E. Wells. 2012. Landscape establishment of woody ornamentals grown in alternative wood-based container substrates. J. Environ. Hort. 30(1):13–16.
  27. Marble, S.C., S.A., Prior, G.B. Runion, H.A. Torbert, C.H. Gilliam, G.F. Fain, S.F. Sibley, and P.R. Knight. 2012. Determining trace gas efflux from container production of woody nursery crops. J. Environ. Hort. 30(3):118-124.
  28. Smith, K.E., D.B. Watts, T.R. Way, H.A. Torbert, S.A. Prior. 2012. Impact of tillage and fertilizer application method on gas emissions (CO2, CH4, N2O) in a corn cropping system. Pedosphere 22(5):604-615.
  29. Dijkstra, F.A., S. A. Prior, G.B. Runion, H.A. Torbert, and C. Lu. 2012. Terrestrial greenhouse gas emissions with climate change: positive or negative feedback? Front. Ecol. Environ 10:520-527.
  30. Nyakatawa, E.Z., D.A. Mays, T.R. Way, D.B. Watts, H.A. Torbert, D.R. Smith. 2012. Soil carbon dioxide fluxes in conventional and conservation tillage corn production systems receiving poultry litter and inorganic fertilizer. J. Sustain. Agric. 36:873-892.
  31. Watts, D.B., F.J. Arriaga, H.A. Torbert, D.L. Gebhart, and R.R. Busby. 2012. Ecosystem biomass, carbon, and nitrogen five years after restoration with municipal solid waste. Agron. J. 104:1305-1311.
  32. Watts, D.B., F.J. Arriaga, H.A. Torbert, D.L. Gebhart, and R.R. Busby. 2012. Non-composted municipal solid waste byproduct influences soil and plant nutrients five years after soil reclamation. Soil Science. 177:480-489.
  33. Calvo, P., D.B. Watts, J.W. Kloepper, and H.A. Torbert. 2013. Microbial-Based Inoculants Impact N2O Emissions from an Incubated Soil Medium Containing Urea Fertilizers. J. Environ. Qual. 42:704–712.
  34. Kurtener, D., V. Yakushev, H.A. Torbert, and E. Krueger. 2013. Definition of zones with different levels of productivity within an agricultural field using fuzzy modeling. J. Agric. Sci. 176-181.
  35. Torbert, H.A. and D.B. Watts. 2014. Impact of FGD gypsum application on water quality in a coastal plain soil. J. Environ. Qual. 43:273–280.
  36. Way, T.R., D.B. Watts, H. Tewolde, K.R. Sistani, and H.A. Torbert. 2014. Implement with adjustable band spacing for subsurface band application of poultry litter. Applied Engineering in Agriculture 29(6): 831-839.
  37. Watts, D.B., G.B. Runion, K.E. Smith, and H.A. Torbert. 2014.   Enhanced efficiency fertilizer’s effect on cotton yield and quality in the Coastal Plains. Agron. J. 106:745-752.
  38. Runion G.B., S.A. Prior, A.J. Price, and H.A. Torbert. 2014. Effects of elevated CO2 on biomass and fungi associated with two ecotypes of ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.). Front. Plant Sci., doi: 10.3389/fpls.2014.00500.
  39. Kavetskiy, A., G.N. Yakubova, H.A. Torbert, S.A. Prior. 2015. Continuous versus pulse neutron induced gamma spectroscopy for soil analysis. Applied Radiation and Isotopes. 96:139-147.
  40. Marble, S.C., S.A., Prior, G.B. Runion, H.A. Torbert. 2015. Control of yellow and purple nutsedge in elevated CO2 environments with glyphosate and halosulfuron. Frontiers in Plant Science. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2015.00001 .
  41. Yakubova, G., L. Wielopolski, H.A. Torbert and S.A. Prior. 2015. Field Testing a Mobile Inelastic Neutron Scattering System to Measure Soil Carbon. Soil Sci. (Accepted 1/1/15).