The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) announced that the Foundation for Agronomic Research, which administers projects for the 4R Research Fund, has awarded nearly $2.7 million in grants to five universities to conduct field research and demonstration projects that evaluate and promote the economic, social, and environmental outcomes of 4R Nutrient Stewardship. The 4R Nutrient Stewardship concept consists of using the right source of fertilizer, at the right rate, at the right time, and in the right place.
Patrick H. Brown, professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis who has expertise in plant nutrient uptake and nutrient efficiency, received $503,426 for his research on “Investigation of improved nitrogen fertilization practices for micro-irrigated almond orchards, specifically addressing the uncertainties around the ‘right place’.”
“Efficient application of nitrogen is critical to the sustainability of almond and other tree crops in California,” said Brown. “California agriculture is also challenged with increasing soil salinity and currently available methods to manage salinity simultaneously compromise nitrogen management.”
Brown’s project will use a combination of laboratory and field experiments coupled with modeling to develop approaches to irrigation management that achieve nitrogen-sensitive salinity management.
“Our goal is to develop the understanding of the biological principles so that we can provide growers with the tools necessary to efficiently utilize nitrogen while protecting crops from salinity,” said Brown.
Additional support for this project is provided by the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the California Almond Board.
4R Research Fund
“The 4R principles are rooted in science, which has shown us the positive impact they can have on grower profitability and environmental impact,” said Chris Jahn, TFI CEO and President. “Through its continued support of the 4R Research Fund, the fertilizer industry proactively demonstrates its commitment to ensuring its products are applied in proven methods that lead to the long-term sustainability of the industry and U.S. agriculture.”
The 4R Research Fund is supported by the fertilizer industry and other stakeholders. The Fund is a science-based research initiative aimed at improving agricultural sustainability by expanding knowledge of the 4Rs.
In this second round of funded projects, the 4R Research Fund sought to research 4R practices addressing additional regions, cropping systems, and issues pertaining to agriculture outside of major commodity crops. With guidance from an industry and academic technical advisory group, the following five projects were funded:
- University of California, Davis, $503,426 (Prof. Patrick H. Brown) – Investigation of improved nitrogen fertilization practices for micro-irrigated almond orchards, specifically addressing the uncertainties around the “right place.” Additional support for this project is provided by the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the California Almond Board.
- University of Arizona, $341,873 – A study of spatial and temporal nitrogen management for irrigated vegetable production systems.
- University of Arkansas, $292,017 – Research to determine the benefits of 4R nutrient management on water quality and use efficiency.
- Utah State University, $612,805 – Work to understand which combinations of nutrient and irrigation 4R practices will improve crop performance and optimize fertilizer and water use efficiency in four major grain, forage, vegetable, and fruit crops.
- Virginia Tech, $874,980 – An integrated approach for nitrogen management in Upland cotton across the U.S. Cotton Belt.
Read more about the 4R Research Fund and projects funded, and the Fertilizer Institute.