The Nitrogen Smart program has been a success with documented outcomes showing reductions in unnecessary N fertilizer applications and increased profits due to changes in application practices. The program offers “certification,” although it has no legal status. This certification is good for three years. The program is now poised to enter its third year in 2018, meaning 2019 will see the first group of attendees needing to recertify. Written evaluations of the program show that approximately 89% of attendees state they will maintain their certification status when it expires.
Research Category: Soil Fertility
The Nitrogen Smart program was conceived by leadership at the Minnesota Corn Growers and the Minnesota Agricultural Water Resources Center and developed into a program by University of Minnesota Extension. The program has been a three way partnership, with the Minnesota Corn Growers providing financial and promotional support, MAWRC providing administrative assistance with registration and tracking attendance, and U of M Extension providing content and teaching.
The program consists of a three hour training on how Nitrogen behaves in the environment and how this affects nitrogen fertilizer management,
With past support from the Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council, we have significantly advanced the development of the University of Minnesota Mesocosm Facility (http://biometeorology. umn.edu/). This facility is now allowing us to probe how climate and management decisions impact corn productivity and some of the critical environmental side effects of food production.
As of November 2, 2015, 7 of 12 mesocosms are fully functional and being used in trials. The other 5 mesocosms are being brought online following operational testing and are expected to be used in trials before the end of December 2015.
Minnesota Corn Growers partnered with the University of Minnesota to hire a nutrient management specialist to provide leadership for programs dealing with environmental issues related to nutrient management of corn cropping systems. Research and educational activities for this position will emphasize the linkages between nitrogen management, water quality and economic impacts. This is a greatly needed position that will help to provide continuity and support for nutrient management programs.