NNY farm research helps development of nitrogen planner for corn growers
Friday, September 24, 2010 - 9:05 am

Farmers in Northern New York are pleased with the robust 2010 corn crop, says the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program, due in part to good weather and good field management.

The harvest in 2011 could be even better, says the NNYADP, as more farmers adopt Adapt-N, Cornell-built software refined by research in northern New York. The PC application aims at field-specific precision nitrogen application.

The farmer-driven NNYADP was among the funding partners for a collaboration that includes the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; the Cornell Computational Agriculture Initiative, the US Department of Agriculture, the Center for Advanced Computing at Cornell, and the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell. The collaboration has created and refined the Adapt-N tool that accommodates year-to-year and field-to-field variability of nitrogen availability.

“Corn gets nitrogen from a number of sources and there are many ways nitrogen can get lost from the root zone as a result of weather-related factors,” Cornell University Department of Crop and Soil Sciences Senior Research Associate Jeff Melkonian says. “We now have the Adapt-N tool to provide corn growers with more precise, field-specific nitrogen recommendations based on the impact of early season weather.”

Melkonian says, “In warm weather, nitrogen mineralizes faster from organic matter in the soil to become available to the corn, while the opposite is true in colder weather. In a drier spring, nitrogen mineralizes and remains in the root zone where the corn can take it up, while in a wetter year the nutrient may leach out of reach of the crop roots.”

Adapt-N works in tandem with Northeast Regional Climate Center data (available on a 3mile x 3mile grid) and with a Precision Nitrogen Management simulation model for corn growth and N uptake.

Farmers interested in using Adapt-N must contact Melkonian at jjm11@cornell.edu for a user ID and password.

For more information on precision nutrient management in northern New York, visit the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website at www.nnyagdev.org.