Category: Innovation

The Innovation Grant Program returns for farmer-led, conservation-minded research

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) launched the third year of the Innovation Grant Program, investing in 12 farmer-led research projects focused on preventing nitrogen loss. Each accepted proposal focuses on innovative solutions to prevent the loss of nitrogen to ground and surface water, keeping the nutrient in the soil.

Working with the Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council, MCGA announced the Innovation Grant Program in 2016 as part of its goal to make Minnesota corn farmers the most sustainable and environmentally responsible in the United States.

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Groundwater Protection Rule: What’s next?

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) released the proposed Groundwater Protection Rule – previously referred to as the Nitrogen Fertilizer Rule – on April 24, 2018. The Groundwater Protection Rule was formally published in the Minnesota State Register on April 30th, followed by an 80-day comment period.

The proposed Groundwater Protection Rule, the statement of need and reasonableness, appendixes for the statement of need and reasonableness and the notice of public hearings are listed on the MDA website here. 

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New technology identifies nitrogen deficient crops from the sky

Drones have become a useful tool for farmers who utilize the bird’s-eye view for crop surveillance, but the unique perspective only scratches the surface of the technology’s potential. Researchers at the University of Minnesota have developed a technology that uses drones to identify nitrogen deficiencies on a plant-by-plant level using imaging analysis.

Developed with the support of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, the technology uses a computer vision technique that examines the leaves of the corn plant for certain characteristics that correlate with nitrogen deficiency.

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A potential revolution in plant disease prevention

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

Lactonase is a commonly occurring enzyme. With a small genetic tweak, it could start a revolution in agriculture by replacing chemical crop protection treatments in a way that arrests the evolution of bacteria that cause plant infection.

Two researchers spent a day at MN Ag Expo, held in January, to tell farmers about the investigation into this enzyme. It’s a project supported by the Minnesota Corn Research &

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Nitrogen Smart Workshop 2017

Nitrogen Smart seminar attendees realize big savings in fertilizer costs

University of Minnesota Extension has been holding Nitrogen Smart seminars across Minnesota to help farmers become more effective with their use of nitrogen. Supported by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, the seminars have been attended by more than 600 people in its first two years, and the feedback suggests it has been well worth their time.

At each seminar, led by Extension Educator Brad Carlson, farmers learn about the latest data and research behind nitrogen application practices that not only reduce environmental impact,

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Leading ag researchers on display at MN Ag EXPO

MN Ag EXPO will again be the place to be for an up-close look at some of the most exciting research happening in the state that will shape future farm practices. It is also one of the only opportunities farmers will have to speak with the researchers leading these projects.

Leaders from the University of Minnesota will be on-hand at the Verizon Wireless Center on Jan. 24-25 to chat with farmers and ag professionals about their work.

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Innovation Grant Spotlight: Reduced versus traditional tillage

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

Throughout the summer we have been highlighting projects from the 2017 Innovation Grant Program, with the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) investing more than $250,000 in 23 farmer-led projects focused on conservation. Through Dec. 15, you can apply to the 2018 Innovation Grant Program here. MCGA will be distributing as much as $300,000 to farmers interested in testing an idea on their farm.

While many farmers are sticking to traditional tilling practices,

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New tillage guide says less is more

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

The new Upper Midwest Tillage Guide provides Minnesota and North Dakota farmers with a resource for considering the right amount of tillage for their operation and which implements will help the farmer achieve new tillage goals.

The guide looks at the history of tillage before going into the benefits of reduced tillage and how to employ these strategies. Its authors are Jodi DeJong-Hughes,

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Major soil health research project revealed for World Soil Day

To celebrate World Soil Day, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) announced a project that will accelerate the adoption of soil health practices on farms by creating standardized measurements that show the benefits of soil health management.

The Nature Conservancy, Soil Health Institute and Soil Health Partnership received a $9.4 million grant from FFAR and matching funds from a number of companies and private donors. With the $20 million in funding,

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AgWater Exchange shares data on best management practices

(The bioreactor working to cull nitrates from drainage water)

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

A lot of important research is happening on the farm, but how is that information getting into the hands of farmers? One way information is being shared is via a blog called The AgWater Exchange.

The blog often features findings from Minnesota’s Discovery Farms, a group of farms where scientists are conducting research into nutrient and sediment loss.

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