(05/18/23) BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU AgCenter soil chemist Jim Wang has been awarded a $553,413 USDA Conservation Innovation Grant to modernize fertilizer recommendations for climate-smart crop production in the southern region of the United States.
Wang said this project aims to improve soil test-based fertilizer recommendations for climate-smart crop production through the incorporation of cover crops and generate research data in supporting the development of the Fertilizer Recommendation Support Tool (FRST), an unbiased decision-support tool for nutrient management.
The FRST tool is designed to improve the accuracy and precision of nutrient recommendations, helping producers adapt to extreme weather events, and build resilience for emerging climate-smart agriculture production systems in the southern region, he said.
“Particularly, the awarded project will calibrate phosphorus and potassium recommendations for cropping systems incorporated with cover crops, which has been lacking,” he said. “It also will develop the guidelines for banded phosphorus applications.”
Improving nutrient recommendations based on soil tests and their interpretations has the potential to significantly reduce nutrient applications and facilitate climate-smart agriculture production.
“The primary goal of this project is to improve the accuracy and precision of nutrient recommendations,” Wang said. “The secondary goal is to support the development of a soil test and crop-response-to-fertilization, searchable, web-based and open-source decision tool.”
The development of the FRST decision tool is critical to increasing soil testing transparency, and toward providing clear and consistent interpretation of fertilizer recommendations, he said.
The three universities sharing this year’s award and each amount are the University of Arkansas ($630,861), the University of Connecticut ($437,996) and the LSU AgCenter ($553,413).
Wang said the three projects aim to increase the accuracy and transparency of soil test-based fertilizer recommendations by providing clear and consistent interpretations that can be used throughout the U.S.
“Improving soil-test-based recommendations and their interpretation has the potential to significantly reduce nutrient applications by accurately identifying the critical soil test value,” he said.
The University of Arkansas’ component is the umbrella project that integrates soil test correlation and calibration data derived from the two regional projects, data from legacy projects, and continues testing, refinement and upgrades of the FRST decision tool.
The University of Connecticut will update soil test correlation and calibration from new phosphorus and potassium fertility trials in six northeastern states for multiple row crops and vegetable crops and to establish a regional platform.
The AgCenter will look at modernizing fertilizer recommendations for climate-smart crop production in the southern region of the U.S.
“This component will update soil test correlation and calibration from new phosphorus and potassium fertility field trials in five Southern states for multiple row cropping systems with incorporation of cover crops,” Wang said. “And we will develop guidelines for banded phosphorus fertilizer recommendations.”
Jim Wang. LSU AgCenter file photo