Adaptive Nutrient Management . Tom Morris, Associate Professor University of Connecticut firstname.lastname@example.org 860-486-0637 VTC Conference Call NRCS Adaptive Nutrient Management Work Team October 24, 2011. Adaptive management.
Tom Morris, Associate Professor
University of Connecticut
VTC Conference Call
NRCS Adaptive Nutrient
Management Work Team
October 24, 2011
Adaptive management is a process to better manage our natural resourcesConcept developed by ecologists starting in mid-1970s and is ongoingNot commonly used in agriculture, but has great benefit and value for ag
Best results when process involves farmer from the beginning and time for learning is build in to the process
Draft definition for agriculture developed by scientists from the Multistate Coordinating Committee: “Adaptive Management for Improved NutrientManagement” (NEERA 1002 and ASA Adaptive Nutrient Management Community)
An on-going process of developing improved management practices for efficient production and resource conservation by use of participatory learning through continuous systematic assessment. Participants include producers, agricultural service providers, policy makers, regulators, scientists, and other interested stakeholders.
Without learning policies (better practices) have low adoption rates (NMPs)
Adaptive Management greatly enhances learning and hence greatly enhances adoption of better practices
ANM enhances NMPs by adding a learning process to the plans
ANM also adds a process to document improvements in nutrient management using results fromobjective evaluations of nutrient practices at the field level
Adults are more likely to adopt new practices when:
Adults are more likely to adopt new practices when:
3. The topics are about subjects that have immediate relevance to their job or personal life (NMPs are part of their farm operations)
4. Discussions about improving a practice are problem-centered and not content-oriented (Content-oriented lectures aren’t nearly as effective as problem-centered discussions at allowing farmers to integrate new information into their existing experiences and to make improvements in practices
Good example is nitrogen management
Much uncertainty in what rate of nitrogen to apply to corn
Uncertainty has economic and environmental consequences
Adaptive nutrient management provides additional information to reduce uncertainty
Scientists in Corn Belt pooled their N fertilizer response trials for corn; Created large data base of N fertilizer response trials
Calculated economic optimum N rate for trials
Created interactive web site using economic optimum N rates for trials
Data from 7 states, IA, IL, IN, MI, MN, WI, OH
1366 N response trials in data base
Based on 188 N fertilizer response trials for corn after beans in Central Illinois:
Economic N rate 176 lbs N/acre
Range: 163-189 lbs N/acre
Frequency distribution of N rates makes it difficult for farmer to chose what rate to apply
188 trials in Central Illinois
Economic N rate
176 lbs N/acre
Percent of sites in optimum
No manure history
N recommendations from University of Connecticut Soil Test Lab are based on yield goal
Having my name on those recommendations makes me uneasy
Three main concepts:
1. Objective evaluation of N at field level
2. Use results in a participatory education program
3. Keep environmental community informed about process and changes in practices to garner support for process
1. Corn stalk nitrate test to evaluate rate of current practice
2. Aerial images of corn fields to evaluate uniformity of N application and uniformity of N in field
3. Replicated strip trials to evaluate:
a. rate of current practice; b. alternative form, timing, placement of N; c. potential for spatial management
4. Process to collect, analyze, summarize and send to farmers important field management data and results of evaluations
5. Group meetings in winter to discuss individual farm, group, county, multi-county, and state results by practice
Corn Stalk Nitrate Test management at field level
1. Evaluate Rate of Current Practice management at field level
What fert rate apply next year?
What manure rate next year?
1. Rate evaluations 2007 management at field level
One farm - 41 fields – Lancaster, PA
Manure 2/4 years
Stalk Nitrate (ppm)
Optimum range (700-2000)
2. Evaluate field management at field level
2. Evaluate field uniformity management at field level
3. Replicated strip trials management at field level
80-acre field in Iowa
Numbers show sampling locations for corn stalk nitrate test
Yields collected by combine with yield monitor and GPS
Strip Trial in PA in 30-acre field management at field level
Iowa: 80% of farmers improved N practices
Reduced N 36 kg ha-1
Chesapeake Bay: Net reduction of 31 kg N ha-1
Small % of fields N increased
Other On-Farm programs only 1-2 years old; requires 2-3 years for farmers to improve
90-95% attendance at winter meetings
Adaptive nutrient management programs will result in more efficient management of nutrients
Our task I think is to develop guidelines for integration of adaptive nutrient management into Nutrient Management Plans
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