Close up of sorghum field Close up of sorghum field

FFAR Grant Provides Data on Nitrogen Management Practices in the Great Plains

More efficient nitrogen management could reduce greenhouse gas emissions while cutting down on overapplication of nitrogen fertilizer, which is costly and harmful to the environment. The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) awarded a $872,560 Seeding Solutions grant to Kansas State University to provide regional data on nitrogen management practices for producers in the Great Plains. Kansas Fertilizer Research Fund, Kansas State University and the United Sorghum Checkoff Program provided matching funds for a total investment of $1,745,125.

Limited data is available that evaluates nitrogen losses and provides producers with the information needed to reduce nitrogen fertilizer application rates for water-limited crops by using climate-smart agriculture practices. Additionally, there are limited opportunities for producers to access data from specific cropping systems on a regional scale, particularly in water-limited environments like the Great Plains.

The decisions regarding the adoption of climate-smart agriculture practices are made at the individual producer level. To motivate and sustain a change in nitrogen management practices, data quantifying the benefits of adopting climate-smart agriculture practices are needed at geographic scales representing various crops and management options relevant to individual producers. Allison Thomson
Scientific Program Director

Kansas State University researchers are examining the key components of the nitrogen cycle in water-limited grain sorghum production under various climate-smart agriculture practices. Specifically, the research team is focusing on ammonia volatilization, nitrogen dioxide emission and carbon intensity as influenced by nitrogen losses and nitrogen use efficiency. This data will allow the researchers to quantify the effect of climate-smart agriculture nitrogen management practices on the nitrogen uptake versus yield relationship and nitrogen use efficiency for grain sorghum. This data is being collected on three dryland sites in central and western Kansas across varying factors including precipitation and temperature.

“This powerful collaboration between United Sorghum Checkoff, the Kansas Fertilizer Research Fund and FFAR will allow us to measure several components of nitrogen management that are not well understood in water-limited cropping systems,” said Dr. Lucas Haag, associate professor at Kansas State University and the principal investigator of this project. “This information will allow better decisions to be made across the sorghum value-chain, from farm level nitrogen management decisions up through assigning proper value to the sorghum crop by end-users.”

Data and analysis from this research can be used to generate improved nitrogen management recommendations for producers.

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Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research

The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) builds public-private partnerships to fund bold research addressing big food and agriculture challenges. FFAR was established in the 2014 Farm Bill to increase public agriculture research investments, fill knowledge gaps and complement the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s research agenda. FFAR’s model matches federal funding from Congress with private funding, delivering a powerful return on taxpayer investment. Through collaboration and partnerships, FFAR advances actionable science benefiting farmers, consumers and the environment.

Connect: @FoundationFAR