It is not about reducing the amount of nutrients a farmer uses to optimize harvest yield and farm profitability, it is all about utilization of inputs applied. Inputs cost money so why would a farmer want to apply more than what is needed by the crop? The answer is clear... no farmer wants to apply inputs just to spend money. To the contrary, farmers are looking for ways to optimize what inputs are applied. Paris High School Ag Students are participating in a new approach to provide area farmers with more information to help them make better N input management decisions.
The Paris High School Project address four simple questions:
1. What is the best time to apply N for the 2017 crop?
2. Is there a way to track plant-available N in the soil over time?
4. How does the concentration of nitrate-N in subsurface drainage tile change over time?
3. Do cover crops tie-up soil N?
4. Does the 360 SOILSCAN measure the same amount of plant-available N as soil testing laboratories?
You have an opportunity to watch each the creation and development of each of these projects by regualry visits to www.nu-tracker.com. The website will serve as the outreach platform for each of the projects mentioned. Students are involved with every aspect of the site. Students help collect soil samples to track plant-available N over time. Students will collect sub-surface tile water samples to track changes in nitrate-N over time. Students will analyze soil samples on the 260 SOILSCAN to compare results with laboratory analyses. Students will develop website content and organization. Teachers will help coach students as well.
The Paris High School Project is only a beginning. There will be more to come and more to report. Come back and visit often to watch how this new approach to Nutrient Stewardship Outreach develops. I am excited about what the school has initiated and what we will accomplish.
Let us know what you think about the project. What do you like and how can we make it better? Thanks in advance for making time to provide us feedback. This is designed as an outreach project for all of us.