Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

On-farm research shows farmers can use less nitrogen to save money and reduce environmental impact

22.06.2007
Ongoing field trials since 2002 by a team that includes 16 farmers, Cornell researchers and Cornell Cooperative Extension field crops educators in 10 counties are showing the value of on-farm research. Their results are successfully quantifying and predicting the nitrogen needs for growing corn, saving farmers money and reducing environmental impact.

"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!
Further information:
http://www.cornell.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Microjet generator for highly viscous fluids
13.02.2018 | Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology

nachricht Sweet route to greater yields
08.02.2018 | Rothamsted Research

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

'Lipid asymmetry' plays key role in activating immune cells

20.02.2018 | Life Sciences

MRI technique differentiates benign breast lesions from malignancies

20.02.2018 | Medical Engineering

Major discovery in controlling quantum states of single atoms

20.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>