Nitrogen management practices are at the forefront of research trials within the tristate area. This is due to multiple reasons such as improving nitrogen management utilizing precision agriculture, weather modeling programs, environmental concerns and nutrient reduction requirements. Minnesota has already set goals and guidelines to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations in waters leaving the state. To help support and increase on farm research of nitrogen management and applications there are a couple options for funding available to help offset possible additional costs for growers.
- Conservation Innovation grants are available to growers in our region, which is a collaboration between Minnesota Corn Growers Association and the Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council. Their Conservation Innovation grants offer up to $7,000 to Minnesota corn farmers who are subject to the MN corn check-off. Proposals should focus on working with best management practices and innovations, management that reduces nitrate loss through soil erosion or profile leaching and therefore reduces ground and/or surface water. It is required that an individual from Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), or a University of Minnesota researcher be working in collaboration with grant applicant. The other option is to host an on farm “Innovation Field Day” that highlights practices that demonstrate nutrient management and conservation practices that minimize nitrate loss. The DEADLINE for this grant is February 15th, 2016.
- The Minnesota Nutrient Management Initiative (NMI) developed by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture helps farmers evaluate alternative nutrient management practices on their own farm. The NMI grant is available for both the grower ($800) and their crop advisor ($400). One trial can be set up per grower. The grower and advisor must each sign up individually with one of the trials available:
- Nitrogen rate (commercial fertilizer only, no manure history)
- Nitrogen rate following manure
- Nitrogen rate following alfalfa
- Nitrogen timing
- Nitrogen stabilizer products
- Nitrogen source
The plot harvest data must be submitted, though all individual results will be kept confidential. Enrollment DEADLINE is March 15th, 2016.
You can find more information on the Corn Growers grant at http://minnesotacornerstone.com/?p=3499. And for more on the grant offered by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture you can go to http://www.mda.state.mn.us/nmi. For any assistance on these grants please contact your agronomist or Kate Stenzel. We will also keep you informed if other funds become available.