Refine your Wheat Nitrogen Management through On-Farm Research

Farmers inspecting a field

Refine your Wheat Nitrogen Management through On-Farm Research

Nebraska Extension received a $1.2 million On-Farm Conservation Innovation grant from USDA – Natural Resource Conservation Service which connects corn and wheat producers across Nebraska with access to cutting-edge technologies through on-farm research.

The goal is for producers to get hands-on experience with new technologies to manage nitrogen more efficiently and evaluate how these technologies will work on their operation. Interested producers will be able to select from several project options, depending on their interests and system capabilities.

This is the second year of the project. Last year, wheat growers evaluated several options for N management (Figure 1). Growers are not limited to the technologies listed here and are able to propose other N technologies they would like to evaluate.

Crop Canopy Sensors, Nitrification Inhibitors, Crop Models and Imagery
Figure 1. Technologies for wheat nitrogen management that growers evaluated in 2020-2021. These include, left: in-season, variable-rate applications directed by crop canopy sensors (AgLeader OptRx or Trimble GreenSeeker), center: spring applications evaluating nitrification inhibitors, right: in-season, variable-rate applications directed by satellite imagery (VariMax)

Some growers also included blocks with a range of N rates in their field. This allows the growers to better understand how the economic optimum N rate varies throughout their field.

The project can be tailored to individual situations, and growers and consultants will work closely with Nebraska Extension to accomplish the project.

  • Eligible producers who complete these studies will receive $1,300 for recognition of their time and resource commitments and to mitigate risk of potential yield loss (and therefore potential profit).
  • Cooperating producers will also be eligible to receive up to $1,200 for eligible technology costs associated with these studies. These funds can also be used to hire variable-rate custom applications to allow the producer to try a sensor- or satellite-based variable-rate recommendation if the grower does not have this capability.

The project is also open to corn producers interested in testing nitrification inhibitors, crop canopy sensors, and crop models (examples: Adapt-N, Granular).

Interested growers, should contact Laura Thompson, Extension Educator – Director, Nebraska On-Farm Research Network at or 402-245-2224 or Laila Puntel, Precision Ag and Soil Fertility Specialist at or 402-472-6449.

Additional information regarding the project can be found at the Precision Nitrogen Management On-Farm Research Project page.

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