The fertilizers are a major reason why agriculture is a significant source of both greenhouse gas emissions and pollution in estuaries like the Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake Bay. If growers apply too little fertilizer, it reduces crop yields. But if they apply too much, the excess can be released into the atmosphere as nitrous oxide or leach into waterways as nitrate.
Jorge Delgado, with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Soil Plant Nutrient Research Unit in Fort Collins, Colo., conducts research to help growers determine exactly how much nitrogen to apply to a field, when to apply it and what alternatives might work best. The right approach can vary from one location to the next and one crop to the next.
ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priorities of responding to climate change and promoting agricultural sustainability.
Delgado helped develop a tool designed for fledgling "environmental trading" credit programs that reward growers for reducing nitrogen losses. Known as the "Nitrogen Trading Tool" (NTT), it can be used to determine how much a proposed management practice may be able to reduce nitrogen losses, and how much "trading credit" could be earned by switching to it.
The concept of trading nitrogen credits is in its formative stages, but efforts have been established in Pennsylvania and Ohio, with municipalities and state environmental agencies in several states and watersheds studying the concept.
Delgado has distributed the NTT and other tools to hundreds of users, including farmers, agribusinesses, scientists, extension agents, state and federal agencies and international users. He also has used them to convince growers to improve soil-management practices by using conservation tillage, crop rotation and cover crops such as wheat, rye and other grasses. Such practices not only prevent nitrates from leaching into waterways, but prevent soils from eroding and keep carbon and nutrients sequestered in the soil.
Delgado also has published a peer-reviewed report in Advances in Agronomy showing how the NTT may be used to calculate the potential for nitrogen trading on a Virginia no-till operation, an Ohio farm where manure is applied, and irrigated barley and potato fields in Colorado. His efforts to reduce nitrogen losses in Mexico also have been published in the journal Terra Latinoamerica.
Read more about this research in the September 2011 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.
Dennis O'Brien | EurekAlert!
Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University
New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy