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Adapt-N and Soil Health Tools for Precision Management in Corn Production

Grant Program: OAR
Agricultural Sector: Fields Crops & Forage
Region: Statewide
Project Duration: 2/1/2015 - 1/31/2017
Amount Awarded: $149,975.00
Lead Organization: Cornell University
Other Organizations: Agronomic Technology Corporation, CCE St. Lawrence County, USDA NRCS, Western NY Crop Management Association
Project Leader: Harold Van Es
Co-Leaders: David DeGolyer, Bianca Moebius-Clune, Daniel Moebius-Clune, Aaron Ristow, Matthew Ryan, Robert Schindelbeck, Keith Severson
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Proposal Abstract

Nitrogen (N) management in NY corn is economically and environmentally costly. Early season weather causes significant variation in fertilizer N needs between years and locations, but prevailing N management decision systems do not adequately account for this. The recently commercialized Adapt-N tool has successfully adjusted N recommendations for precision N management in 81% of 2011-13 trials: NY farm profits increased by $49/acre and N inputs decreased by 42lb/ac on average. Adapt-N accomplishes this by providing precise sidedress N recommendations based on simulations using high-resolution climate data, a sophisticated computer model, and field- or sub-field-specific management, crop and soil information that the user provides through a web interface. This project will involve growers and ag service providers in two seasons of replicated multi-rate trials and guided low-risk implementation to further enhance Adapt-N through data and user-feedback. Adapt-N will be enhanced with capacity to account for soil health by using soil health test results as model inputs, and also will enable use of historical yield monitor data to better represent yield potential, a critical model input, between and within fields. Economic incentives, outreach, training on expert tool use, and tool enhancements will lead growers and agricultural service providers to adopt adaptive N management at the commercial scale on at least 30,000 NY acres, with wide-spread sidedressing of Adapt-N rates adjusted for weather, soil health, and yield potential. We estimate that growers will prevent over 1M lb of excess N from being lost to the environment, while earning an additional $0.75-1M, with expanding benefits beyond the project period.

Final Report Summary Statement

Better tools are needed to equip producers to effectively apply fertilizer and manure N to enhance crop productivity and farm profitability while decreasing costs and minimizing nutrient loss to the environment. To that end we created Adapt-N and the Comprehensive Assessment of Soil Health (CASH).  Adapt-N is a web-based tool which uses near real-time high resolution climate data and other inputs to provide a dynamic, in-season nitrogen sidedress recommendation.  CASH is a publicly available assessment of soil quality that includes physical and biological indicators in addition to a chemical analysis. We have found that using Adapt-N can increase farmer profits by $29/ac while reducing environmental losses by 34% and Soil Health has increased on farms reducing tillage and utilizing cover crops. This project demonstrates that combining N and soil health management is attractive to farmers and provides ‘win-win’ opportunities for profitability and reducing environmental impacts resulting in greater adoption.

Project Impact Data

Producers Participating: 9

Producers Advising: 9

Research/Extension Employed: 2

Gross Farm Savings: $160.00

Potential Industry Impact: $5,800,000.00

Articles/Publications: 20

Presentations: 69

Workshops: 4

Total Producers Engaged: 1196

Matching Funds: $345,838.00

Documents and Photos

 Lancaster Farming Article.pdf
Article published in Lancaster Farming about the farmer soil health workshop that Aaron Ristow attended and presented at.
2015 AdaptN Template.xlsx
This is the data collection template that was developed for Adpat-N field trials
 2015 Collaborator Guidelines.pdf
This is the document that was updated and sent to project collaborators with field trial protocols for 2015.
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