Online tool helps farmers with nitrogen application decisions

Publish time: 4th December, 2014      Source: Ames, Iowa, USA
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Online tool helps farmers with nitrogen application decisionsOnline tool helps farmers with nitrogen application decisions" title="Share this link on Facebook">Ames, Iowa, USADecember 4, 2014A federally funded climate initiative, that includes Iowa State University, haslaunched a new online decisionsupport tool to help farmers and farm advisersmanage the application of in-field nitrogen for maximizing crop yields andminimizing environmental damage.The freetool, called “Corn Split N,” is available for use in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana,Missouri and Kansas. Corn Split N combineshistorical weather data andfieldwork conditions with economic considerations to determine the feasibilityand profitability ofcompleting a post-planting nitrogen application for cornproduction.The tool wasdeveloped as part of “Useful to Usable,” or U2U, a USDA National Institute forFood and Agriculture-fundedresearch and extension project designed to improvethe resilience and profitability of farms in the Corn Belt amid a variableandchanging climate. The project team includes 50 faculty, staff and students fromnine north-central universities withexpertise in applied climatology, cropmodeling, agronomy, cybertechnology, agricultural economics and other socialsciences.Chad Hart, anIowa State associate professor of economics and extension crop marketsspecialist, is the local projectcoordinator for the Corn Split N tool.“Traditionally,farmers have applied nitrogen to the soil in a single pass either in the fallor in the spring before planting,” Hartsaid. “However, research has shown thatby splitting the nitrogen over two intervals, applying it once in the fall orspringwhen the soil is not saturated and the temperature is between 50 and 32degrees Fahrenheit, and then a second time whenthe plants are in the groundand in most need of it, will ultimately lead to better results. Less fertilizerwill be needed overalland not as much will be lost in run off.”Hart saidthat nitrogen management of corn includes many factors. One is the timing ofthe application, which variesdepending on weather and soil conditions. CornSplit N tool’s historical climate data is designed to assist farmers pinpointwhen nitrogen should be applied for best results.Because thepost-planting application must be done before the corn gets too tall, estimatesof corn development stages basedon location, selected planting date and theaccumulated corn growing degree days for the year also are factored into thetool.Growing degree day accumulations and associated corn growth beyond thecurrent day are estimated based on the historical30-year (1981 to 2010)average degree day accumulation for a location.Hart said theCorn Split N tool helps farmers quantify the costs and benefits under average,worst and best case scenarioswhen doing a post-planting nitrogen application,even taking into account two passes of ground equipment in the fields.Farmers getcustomized results based on their planting and fertilization schedule, localcosts and available equipment. Asummarized fieldwork table and crop calendaralso allow farmers to see how schedule adjustments might affect their abilitytofertilize on time.In 2015, theproduct will be expanded to seven additional north-central states: Wisconsin,Minnesota, South Dakota, NorthDakota, Nebraska, Ohio and Michigan.To learnmore, visit the U2U homepage, projectpartners are Purdue University, Iowa State, Michigan State University, SouthDakota State University, Universityof Illinois, University of Michigan,University of Missouri, University of Nebraska, University of Wisconsin, HighPlains andMidwestern NOAA Regional Climate Centers and the National DroughtMitigation Center. Linda Stalker Prokopy at Purdue isthe U2U project director.Corn Split Nis part of the U2U suite of tools created to help farmers and agriculturaladvisers manage increasingly variableweather and climate conditions across theCorn Belt. The tools incorporate historical climate data to help informpurchasing,marketing and activity planning throughout the growing cycle. Datain all tools are updated on a regular basis, even daily insome cases.Other U2Udecision support tools include: AgClimate View provides convenient access to customizedhistorical climate and crop yield data for the U.S. Corn Belt.Users canview graphs of monthly temperature and precipitation, plot corn andsoybean yield trends, and compareclimate and yields over the past 30 years.Corn Growing Degree Day allows users to track real-time andhistorical accumulations, assess spring and fall frost riskand guidedecisions related to planting, harvest and seed selection. This innovativetool integrates corn developmentstages with weather and climate data forlocation-specific decision support tailored specifically to agriculturalproduction.Climate Patterns Viewer helps farmers and agricultural advisersassess how climate patterns in other parts of the worldcan influencelocal climate conditions and corn yields across the Corn Belt. The toolcan help growers make moreinformed farm management decisions duringdifferent phases of the El Niño Southern Oscillation and ArcticOscillation byrelating historical events to associated precipitation andtemperature impacts over the course of a year.More news from: Iowa State UniversityWebsite: http://www.iastate.eduPublished: December 4, 2014The news item on this page is copyright by the organization where it originatedFair use notice