Research Category: Soil Fertility

Irrigation management impacts on corn yield and nitrate leaching

(2019)
University of Minnesota/Vasudha Sharma

The environmental impact of irrigated agriculture on ground and surface water resources in Minnesota is of major concern. Better irrigation scheduling has the potential in addressing these complex agricultural environmental challenges we face in Minnesota. The main goal of this research is to identify and develop irrigation management strategies and techniques that will increase corn water use efficiency, while minimizing nitrate leaching and maximizing crop utilization of soil nitrogen without impacting the yield. Four irrigation scheduling methods (1) in-field soil moisture monitoring using soil moisture sensors,

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Reducing reactive nitrogen loses from corn systems

(2019)
University of Minnesota/Tim Griffis

Over the last several years our regional atmospheric measurements and mesocosm experiments have revealed that reactive nitrogen losses associated with corn production are likely to increase as our climate continues to get warmer and wetter. Our mesocosm experiments also indicate that alternative nitrogen management techniques have significant potential to reduce reactive nitrogen losses. Here, we propose to extend our mesocosm experimental approach and analyses to assess if the recoupling of grain and animal production systems via improved manure nitrogen management can help to further mitigate reactive nitrogen losses.

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Assessment of Minnesota’s soil mineralogy and impacts on fertilizer guidelines

(2019)
University of Minnesota/Dan Kaiser

Potassium (K) can be a major yield limiting factor in corn production in Minnesota. Soils across Minnesota vary in their K holding capacity and their ability to supply K to the corn crop. Much of the variation in K cycling is due to clay types and other mineralogical properties of the soil. A detailed survey of soil mineralogy will be conducted to better understand how K cycles in Minnesota soils with and without K response trials.

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Pushing the limits on nitrate removal: a watershed-scale bioreactor

(2019)
Faribault Co. SWCD/Michelle Stindtman

Minnesota has an interim goal of 20% reduction in nitrate-N load in Minnesota waters by 2025. One structural drainage practice that can immediately contribute to nitrate reduction is the woodchip bioreactor. Bioreactors are commonly placed at the edge of tile-drained fields 10 to 80 acres in size. A unique three-cell bioreactor in Faribault County was installed in 2016 on a county ditch system, a 632-acre watershed, which is row cropped in corn and soybeans, and a scale that has never been tried.

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Best management practices to integrate cover crops and manure

(2019)
University of Minnesota/Melissa Wilson

There is a growing interest in using cover crops for improving soil health and water quality. In cool, northern climates, however, adoption is low due to the short growing season. On the other hand, interseeding cover crops allows more time for growth and is becoming popular. Liquid manure application, which often happens in the fall in this region, is one practice that could benefit from the use of cover crops. Newer injection technologies have made manure application into cover crops possible,

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Advanced Nitrogen Smart

(2018)
University of Minnesota/Brad Carlson

This proposal is to fund “Advanced Nitrogen Smart – A Deep Dive Into the 4Rs.” This will be the second Advanced Nitrogen Smart program topic, and joins “Manure Management” as options for those that have already attended the base session. Costs include staff time and travel to prepare a 2.5 – 3 hour PowerPoint and accompanying educational materials. The program will be delivered during the 2020 winter meeting season and on into the future.
Background and Goal Statement(s):
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.

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Nitrogen Smart

(2017)
University of Minnesota/Brad Carlson

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,

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Climate Change Impacts on Minnesota Corn Production and Environmental Consequences

(2016)
University of Minnesota/Tim Griffis

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.

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