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MDA, NRCS invite farmers to participate in NMI


February 10, 2011
By Minnesota Department of Agriculture

February 10, 2011, St.
Paul, MN – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA) invite southern Minnesota farmers to join nearly
150 of their colleagues who have participated since 2006 in a nutrient
management evaluation program funded through the Environmental Quality
Incentives Program (EQIP).

February 10, 2011, St.
Paul, MN – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA) invite southern Minnesota farmers to join nearly
150 of their colleagues who have participated since 2006 in a nutrient
management evaluation program funded through the Environmental Quality
Incentives Program (EQIP)
.

Participating farmers help
generate information that can help growers around the state manage inputs in a
manner that leads to both healthy crop yields and a healthy environment.

The Nutrient Management
Initiative (NMI) program
helps farmers fine tune their nutrient application
rates with either a higher or lower application rate comparison and evaluate
their economic outcomes. Participating farmers work with a certified crop
adviser and set up test comparisons on their own farm. Upon completion of the
program the farmer and certified crop adviser receive an economic analysis
based on the farmer’s actual nutrient costs and yields from replicated strips
using a yearly average corn price. Participating farmers receive $1,200 to
reimburse them for the certified crop adviser’s fees and the time spent on the
project.

The project results demonstrate
how corn responds to nitrogen rates on farms across southern Minnesota. The
data helps farmers better understand the effects of key production variables
including soil type, new crop genetic efficiencies, and application method and
timing.

In 2010, NMI collected
data from 49 sites in 26 counties. Replicated trial sites demonstrated a yield
increase of more than four bushels per acre 51 percent of the time from the
higher nitrogen comparison.  When
considering the additional nitrogen costs, an economic advantage resulted half
of the time. Corn following soybean crop rotation responded to additional
nitrogen 61 percent of the time compared to corn following corn rotation
responding only 38 percent of the time. Split applying nitrogen at different timing
intervals resulted in the largest yield and economic advantages. Control strips
where little or no nitrogen was applied resulted in 70 percent of the overall
yield as a result of residual nitrogen and soil organic matter contributions.

The program is funded
through the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service , while MDA assists
with this program through promotion, data collection and compilation, and
education outreach. Farmers interested in enrolling in the 2011 NMI program
should contact their local USDA-NRCS office or Brian Williams by phone at
507-665-6806 or by email at brian.c.williams@state.mn.us. Sign up information and program results
are available on the MDA website at www.mda.state.mn.us/nmi.

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