Monday, 6 October 2008: 9:30 AM
George R. Brown Convention Center, 361DE
Fertilizer is an expensive input for crop production, causes some of the most serious environmental concerns relating to agriculture, and is absolutely essential to our ability to meet the food, feed, fiber, and fuel demands of the growing world population. Fertilizers are our primary means of providing the basic nutrients for efficient crop production. Most attention has been given to management of manure as a nutrient source in recent years, yet the vast majority of crop nutrients must come from fertilizer. Practices for fertilizer use need to be updated to be sure we use the right products, at the right rate, in the right place, at the right time. Through a Conservation Innovation Grant from USDA-NRCS, IPNI staff have worked with stakeholders representing universities, industry, government agencies, and farmers and their advisers to evaluate current recommended management practices for six major cropping systems (corn/soybean, irrigated corn, forages, potatoes, cotton, and wheat). The stakeholder groups have reviewed recent research, have participated in brainstorming sessions on changes needed to “official” recommendations, and have helped implement these changes through publications, conferences, and field demonstrations. The result is a set of newly reviewed, and often revised, fertilizer best management practices (BMPs) for these selected cropping systems. We hope this project will serve as a model for fertilizer BMP updates for other cropping systems for other parts of the country. Best management practices for fertilizer use should be implemented wherever possible to ensure that we are making the most efficient use of the land, labor, and other resources for crop production, gaining the best agronomic production we can, and generating the profit needed to sustain the production system, while at the same time being good stewards of the resources we have available and minimizing the environmental footprint of growing our crops.