Date: Thu Jul 27, 2017
Time: 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Moderator: Leah Berger Jensen
Tulane University Nitrogen Challenge is a $1 Million Challenge that seeks innovative in-field solutions that will reduce crop fertilizers and run-off, with the goal of combatting hypoxia and global “Dead Zones”.
The Challenge is currently in Phase 2 – the in-field test phase in Louisiana. The panel includes the Challenge Director, Top Finalist Teams and the Farmer from the Test Field Site. Hear about the Team’s diverse innovations, the benefits of a “Challenge” and lessons learned, and how these partners and Teams are working to reduce N, and “battling” it out to win the $1M prize, which will be awarded in Dec 2017.
Adapt-N is a nitrogen technology solution that uses models and data to precisely manage nitrogen for grain production. It allows for real-time and site-specific N management and can be used on its own or through integration with other farm management platforms. We have shown win-win benefits where more efficient N management results in increased farm profits and reduced environmental impacts. We will review field evaluations, including the Tulane Challenge trial, and also the new Adapt-N modules on cover crops and inhibitors.
There is no single solution to the problem of inefficient fertilizer use. A systems approach to nitrogen management is needed. Team Cropsmith proposes a blend of soil chemistry, microbiology, agronomy, and data analysis to determine the best practices for fertilizer N for efficient corn production. Our system includes:
- a novel soil test to determine the N supplying power of the soil,
- innovative new products to reduce N loss and enhance biological N fixation,
- agronomic recommendations that adapt to corn production regions and farmer risk management strategies
- a system of data generation that helps farmers and their consultants customize N applications to fit the particular needs of a field.
This approach faces the fact that N management is a complex issue and a systems approach is the best solution for economic and environmental sustainability.
Of the nitrogen needed to feed the crop, most comes from the soil. But different soils have different capabilities for mineralizing nitrogen and making it available to the crop. The Illinois Soil Nitrogen Test (ISNT) is a measure of a portion of organic nitrogen in the soil. This measure coincides with the microbial biomass which is a direct indication of the potential for the soil to mineralize nitrogen. When we know what nitrogen to expect from the soil we can better explain the yield response to applied nitrogen fertilizer. Factoring the nitrogen coming from the soil into the equation for the overall N needed by the crop makes our fertilizer N recommendations much more efficient. We add more nitrogen where the soil supply is low. We add less nitrogen where the soil supply is high.
Every season, farmers face unpredictable growing conditions. Weather, field variability and other environmental factors can prevent up to half of the nitrogen applied to crops from being available to plants that need it.
This is where Pivot Bio’s innovative ON Technology™ comes in. It harnesses the innate ability of naturally occurring microbes to provide cereals crops with nutrients, such as nitrogen, right when they need them the most. ON Technology, also known as guided microbial remodeling, is a state-of-the-art process that identifies, characterizes and fine-tunes microbes to realize their full potential. Adapting the genetic material naturally present in a microbe significantly increases nutrient uptake by the crop.
This is a game-changing approach. ON technology allows farmers to protect their investment and help them achieve their yield potential with better environmental outcomes.
Stable'N is a nitrification inhibitor process that utilizes electricity delivered into the soil by a retrofit to existing fertilizer application equipment. This nitrification inhibitor works much like a traditional chemically based nitrification inhibitor, but it can be applied for much less cost per acre on a farm. By inhibiting the nitrification process, many nitrogen fertilizers will not be converted into a form of nitrogen that can be easily lost from the soil - therefore more of the nitrogen that is applied will be available for the crop to use. This type of protectionary practice can help farmers ensure that their crops will achieve yield goals without wasting or over-applying fertilizers. Nitrification inhibitors are already a common practice on many farms, and our technology will help make this practice more economical and more regularly adopted.