"With this program, we focus on determining under what situations extra nitrogen would be good to add and when a farmer can save money by reducing fertilizer applications without impacting yield and quality," says Quirine Ketterings, associate professor of crop and soil sciences, who co-leads the research team. "This is the best way to minimize the potential negative environmental and economic impacts of excess nitrogen fertilizer use."
The project evaluated five treatments when growing corn: no starter fertilizer and no additional nitrogen; a starter of 30 lbs nitrogen only; and starter of 30 lbs nitrogen plus 50, 100 of 150 lbs of added nitrogen on corn newly planted in fields that grew alfalfa (a legume), grass or an alfalfa/grass mix the year before.
None of the 16 first-year corn trials evaluated in 2005-06 responded to additional nitrogen after the starter fertilizer, said Cornell graduate student Joseph Lawrence. This indicates that the forage grass and/or legume gave enough nitrogen back to the soil to feed the following year's corn crop, he said. Forage quality was not negatively impacted either.
For example, after farmer Mike Kiechle of Garden of Eden Farm in Philadelphia, N.Y., cut the excess nitrogen in his applications in the 2005 research trial that evaluated all treatments at his farm. With excess nitrogen, the corn grew taller but the ears were smaller and produced less grain.
"The corn that received less nitrogen was shorter, sturdier and produced more corn in the silage," Kiechle said. "I had been happy to harvest 18 tons of corn silage on my clay soils, so when we harvested 20 tons in 2006, I was excited." This year, Kiechle is applying half the nitrogen he used last year. "This on-farm research trial showed I was just wasting money to apply more. I cut back, and that has saved me about $10-$12 per acre."
And when farmer Dan Mulvaney used only 30 lbs of starter nitrogen on second-year corn at his farm in Conesus, N.Y., his corn silage yields increased 4 to 5 tons per acre, and his shelled corn increased from 100 to 140 bushels per acre.
In Freeville, N.Y., Beck Farm crop manager Jerry Coller manages 2,000 acres of crops and does not have enough manure to meet the nitrogen needs of those crops. He says the precision nitrogen project showed him that his grass crops provide more nitrogen than he thought, so less manure is required to fertilize those lands to grow corn. Coller has reconfigured applications to better distribute the farm's manure resources to other fields.
In New York state, some 460,000 acres produced 8.28 million tons of silage in 2006. Nitrogen fertilizer is growing increasingly expensive (about 40 cents per pound last year), so any reduction in nitrogen use improves farmers' bottom line and prevents nutrient losses into the environment.
This project, in its final year, is funded with grants from the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program and New York Farm Viability Institute and the Cornell Agricultural Research Station. The project team will also provide conclusions about use of soil nitrogen tests to determine when corn grown in New York needs nitrogen.
Eleanor Jacobs and Kara Dunn are both freelance writers.
Press Relations Office | EurekAlert!
Alkaline soil, sensible sensor
03.08.2017 | American Society of Agronomy
New 3-D model predicts best planting practices for farmers
26.06.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
23.08.2017 | Life Sciences
23.08.2017 | Life Sciences
22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine