Nutrient management project seeks farmer cooperators

Participating growers will receive their farm’s nutrient balance, soil health and soil microbial community test results.

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There are many practices that retain nutrients in soil, but they may not be equally effective across farms with different histories and soil properties. Since every field a grower uses is unique, a nutrient management project through University of Michigan is seeking to find ways to help farmers incorporate on-farm variability into nutrient management recommendations.

U of M researchers Jennifer Blesh and Kent Connell are seeking Michigan growers to participate in an approximately 1-hour interview about the nutrient management strategies they use for two fields that include corn in rotation. Participating growers will receive their farm’s nutrient balance, soil health, and soil microbial community test results.

Researchers will ask questions about each field’s management history (rotation, tillage, fertilization, manure use, cover crops, etc.) and five years of field-level yield data. This five-year inventory of nutrient inputs and outputs will indicate whether N and P are being added in deficit or excess of crop demand. Soil will be collected from each field in summer 2022 to measure soil health and microbial community characteristics. All data will be kept anonymous and presented in aggregate to protect privacy. We will also share with participating growers and other.

Growers may participate in roundtable discussions where aggregated data will be shared with agricultural stakeholders, if they are interested. Gowers will have the opportunity to join a local network of growers interested in nutrient management and dedicated to increasing the economic and environmental sustainability of agriculture in Michigan.

A more detailed description is posted on the project webpage. If interested contact Kent (rkco@umich.edu) or Jennifer (jblesh@umich.edu).

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