Precision Nitrogen Management On-Farm Research Project

aerial view of corn fields at sunset

Are you interested in how agriculture technologies can improve nitrogen management on your farm?

This effort, launched in 2020, 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. This project is made possible through a $1.2 million On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). 

READ MORE ABOUT THE INITIATIVE

Why Participate?

Participating in these study will allow you to learn about and try new technologies and evaluate what techniques will improve N management on your farm. You will work closely with Nebraska Extension to accomplish the project. We hope this study provides valuable information for your operation. In addition, these studies will provide valuable information to improve N management in Nebraska.

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 (and therefore potential profit) loss. Cooperating producers will also be eligible to receive up to $1,200 for eligibility technology costs associated with these studies (more details for specific studies are below).

Interested producers will be able to select from several project types detailed below.

Project Options

Crop Model Based Tools for Corn N Management

Crop simulation models have been identified as a precision management approach which have potential to account for spatial and temporal variability and to predict crop N need by accounting for different soil-crop processes, and their interactions with management, cultivar, and environmental conditions. There are numerous commercialized models available, including Maize-N, Adapt-N, Climate FieldView™, Granular®, FarmersEdge™ N-Manager, and more. Several of these models were developed at universities or in collaboration with universities; Maize-N was developed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Adapt-N was developed at Cornell University, and Encirca® was developed in collaboration with USDA-ARS scientists at the University of Missouri, Colombia. 

This study will allow you to get hands-on experience with crop model based N tools (e.g., Granular, Adapt-N, Farmers Edge) and comparing them to your usual N management and the on-farm economic optimum N rate (EONR). This study can be completed by those with pre-plant only N capabilities, in-season N capabilities, variable-rate capabilities, or flat-rate only capabilities.

For questions about this study, contact Dr. Laila Puntel.

Models for N Management - Study Details

Crop Canopy Sensing for Corn N Management

Active crop canopy sensors (such as Trimble GreenSeeker® or AgLeader OptRx®) monitor the N status of the crop, allowing growers to make management decisions that are reactive to actual growing season conditions. This study will allow you to test in-season, active crop canopy sensors for N management at the sub-field level and comparing them to your usual N management and the on-farm economic optimum N rate (EONR). This study can be used for those with pre-plant only N capabilities, in-season N capabilities, variable-rate capabilities, or flat-rate only capabilities.

For questions about this study, contact Dr. Joe Luck.

Crop Canopy Sensing for Corn N Management - Study Details

Nitrification Inhibitors for Corn

In high risk environments, inhibitors are an important technology to increase NUE and reduce loss of N from the cropping system. When N fertilizer is applied as anhydrous ammonia on sandy soils, there is an increased risk of leaching if rainfall occurs; in this case a nitrification inhibitor may be particularly valuable. The objective of this on-farm trial is to evaluate the effect of nitrogen fertilizer inhibitors (nitrification inhibitors, urease inhibitors) on nitrogen use efficiency, vegetative growth N stress, crop yield, and profits. Nitrogen fertilizer Inhibitors would be applied in fall, and/or spring and/or compared with split N application without inhibitors.

Participation in this trial will allow you to evaluate the effect of nitrogen fertilizer inhibitors in enhancing nitrogen efficiency and crop yield on your farm. You will work closely with Nebraska Extension to accomplish the project. In addition, this study provides you the opportunity in improving nitrogen management and protecting groundwater resources in Nebraska.

For questions about this study, contact Dr. Javed Iqbal.

Nitrification Inhibitors for Corn - Study Details

Split-Applications, Crop Canopy Sensing, and Aerial Imagery for Wheat N Management

Split-N applications and in-season applications utilizing a crop canopy sensor can help growers make management decisions that are reactive to actual growing season condition and plant N need. This study compares the producer's usual N amangement to a "next level" of N management utilzing tools such as crop canopy sensors, aerial imagery, in-season applications, and variable-rate capabilities. The "next level" technologies will also be compared to the on-farm economic optimum N rate (EONR). This study may be completed by those with pre-plant only N capabilities, in-season N capabilities, variable-rate capabilities, or flat-rate only capabilities.

For questions about this study, contact Dr. Bijesh Maharjan for western NE and Dr. Laila Puntel or Dr. Nathan Mueller for eastern NE.

Wheat N Management - Study Details