February 29, 2008
Contact: Joe Lawrence, 315-376-5270; Mike Hunter, 315-788-8450
Note: Meeting sites: West Chazy, Malone, Canton, Lowville & Watertown

Learn about Nutrient Management Best Practices for Northern NY March 17-21

Where to put manure nutrients to best use? With the cost of fertilizer climbing, can I make better use of manure nutrients, buy less fertilizer, and still have good crops? At Making the Most of Your Fertilizer Dollar meetings March 17 through 21 in West Chazy, Malone, Canton, Lowville, and Watertown, Dr. Quirine M. Ketterings of Cornell University and Cornell Cooperative Extension educators will share the results of the latest nutrient management best practices research.

Ketterings has conducted much of her nutrient management research on Northern New York farms. Ketterings and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Lewis County Field Crops Educator Joe Lawrence will share the results of nitrogen for corn research at the meetings.

Nutrient Management Increasingly Mandated
Increasingly, legislated mandates require the development of nutrient management plans that specify how nutrients such as phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium will be applied to farm fields. One goal of such mandates is to have fertilizer or manure applications meet and not exceed crop nutrient needs. Corn, soybean, alfalfa and grass crops are used to feed dairy and beef cows, small livestock, and people and to sell as commodities and for biofuel production.

Ketterings, an associate professor of crop and soil sciences and team leader for the Cornell Nutrient Management Spear Program at Cornell, says, �Good nutrient management practices can results in good crop yields and reduced runoff, volatilization and leaching losses. Our most recent fieldwork shows we can save money, time, and labor by assessing fields and rotations for nutrient needs and making use of nutrients, such as manure, that are already on the farm.�

Ketterings cautions, however, �It is not a good practice to lower fertilizer applications to all fields in response to high fertilizer prices. Some fields need the extra fertilizer. It is more effectively to identify which fields need the extra nutrients and reduce applications only on fields that do not need the extra nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) or potassium (K).�

Dr. Ketterings and her collaborators, working with regional farmers, have developed planning tools and fact sheets that help farmers make nutrient management decisions that take into account soil types, soil test results, crop rotations, fertilizer and/or manure use efficiency based on application rate, application timing and methods, soil drainage, and field location in relationship water sources.

Recent Research Shows Cost Savings Possible, Need to Field Test
Ketterings says, �Recent projects funded by the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program have shown that reducing or eliminating phosphorus use on on high or very high P fields can save as much as $15-25 per acre, and eliminating all but a small starter fertilizer of nitrogen on first-year corn fields crops can save $30 or more per acre.�

A new soil organic N test could help identify second or higher-year corn fields with sufficient soil organic nitrogen for optimum yield, possibly resulting in savings of $65 per acre or more.
The trick is to find out when you need the extra N and when not,� she adds.

Northern New York Agricultural Development Program (NNYADP) Co-Chair Jon Greenwood says, �Our goal with the grants program of the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is to fund on-farm research that provides agricultural producers across the region with cutting edge insights and practical results for on-target decision making for farm productivity and profitability.�

NNYADP Co-Chair Joe Giroux says, �With fertilizer, seed and other input costs rising, the value of recent NNYADP-funded research conducted in Northern New York that shows farmers how to more efficiently use their existing resources also rises. I encourage farmers to take advantage of learning opportunities through these fertilizer meetings and by participating in on-farm research projects.�

Field Crops Educator Joe Lawrence with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Lewis County is a former graduate student of Ketterings in the Nutrient Management Spear Program at Cornell. Lawrence says, �The Making the Most of Your Fertilizer Dollars program responds to farmers� need to know as much as they can about efficiently using nutrients. With Dr. Ketterings, Ev Thomas of the Miner Institute and Baker Farm Manager Mike Davis, our speakers provide field-tested knowledge that applies directly to Northern New York conditions.�

Speakers at the fertilizer-focused meetings also include Everett Thomas is Director of Agricultural Operations at the William H. Miner Agricultural Institute in Chazy, NY. Thomas will present at the March 17 and 18 fertilizer meetings. Cornell University E.V. Baker Agricultural Research Farm Manager Michael Davis will speak March 17. Ketterings will speak March 17 in West Chazy, March 18 in Malone, March 20 in Lowville, and March 21 in Watertown; Joe Lawrence will cover the N for corn material March 19 in Canton. Cornell Cooperative Extension educators Lawrence, Mike Hunter, Peter Barney (CCE retired), Carl Tillinghast, and Blake Putman are also presenting.

For more information, contact Cornell Cooperative Extension. CCA credits may be possible. To learn more about nutrient management research conducted in Northern New York and for fact sheets, visit the website at www.nnyagdev.org. # # #