Nitrogen Stabilizer Trial Work

NutrientStar, the research arm of the Amplify Consultant Network and Brookside Labs, was awarded a Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG)  through the Natural Resources Conversation Service (NRCS) in February of 2020. NutrientStar was granted $1.3 million to perform on-farm trials over three years to compare different rates of nitrogen fertilizers when paired with various nitrogen stabilizers. The field trials started in 2020 and will continue to the end of 2022. Most of the trials ar being carried out by consultants and farmer clients who are a part of the Amplify Consultant Network. In that regard these trials are unique, in that the data being gernerated is from a top quality laboratory in fields that have been under consultation for many years. Brookside Labs offers top-of-the-line, quality data, and the Amplify Consultant Network stretches throughout the United States and is present in several countries outside the United States.

Nitrogen fertilizer is one of the most costly inputs farmers have to implement to produce a highly profitable corn crop. As we all know, using and manufacturing nitrogen fertilizers can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and potentially have an effect on water quality. In a effort to better prepare consultants and clients to maximize nitrogen use effificeny (NUE), NutrientStar is using data collected at field-scale in the “real world”. Each trial tests a stabilizer product within the client’s normal nitrogen program to estimate the effect on NUE. Program participants are evaluating rates in combination with a stabilizer to better understand their interation on production and profitability. In a best case scenario the data will lead to equal or higher profitability coming from a reduction in rate made possible by adding a stabilizer. The reduction in rate is targeted for its positive effects on air and water.

Many land grant universities have researched EEFs, and most of the time, there is a positive, profitable response. However, enhanced efficiency fertilizer products are not a large portion of total nitrogen sales. Why? When speaking with the Amplify Consultants, NutrientStar learned that the most significant roadblock to adopting a nitrogen stabilizer or inhibitor is a lack of knowledge. There are many different options, and knowing which stabilizer to use with which fertilizer and at what rate is a considerable hurdle. By conducting on-farm field trials, NutrientStar can give the farmers a leg up by helping them determine which products and which rates work best in their operations, weather regime, and equipment.

Sharing and learning from the data has great value and will allow the farmers, Amplify Consultants, and the project staff to form better, data-driven conclusions faster.

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