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September 13, 2011

Reducing Nitrate Leaching to Improve Crop Yields & Protect Resources

Posted by Agricen

Reducing a fertilizer’s leachable nitrates allows the fertilizer to act more efficiently. It also helps protect our water resources.

In a three-year lysimeter study, we evaluated the ability of SoilBuilder™, our base fertilizer catalyst platform, to increase corn yields by converting fertilizer nitrogen (N) into a less leachable form. The study was conducted at the field research facilities of Arise Research & Discovery, Inc., in Illinois.

SoilBuilder-treated fertilizer was compared to untreated fertilizer (control) over three growing seasons. Corn yield and nitrate leaching were evaluated. Each treated area (SoilBuilder vs. control) included four rows of field corn (row length: 30 ft; row spacing: 30 in; seed rate: 30,000/acre. The volume of leachable water and nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N) concentrations in the water were determined six times during each season following pumping of the lysimeter wells.

In each of the three seasons, adding SoilBuilder to fertilizer increased yields over the control (Table 1). It was also associated with a significant reduction in nitrate leaching compared to the control (Table 2).

SoilBuilder - Fertilizer Increased Yields

The average rate of nitrate leaching during the 2008 growing season is shown in Figure 1.

Average rate of nitrate leaching

Overall, this field trial shows the ability of SoilBuilder to convert fertilizer nitrogen into a less leachable form that is more available for crop nutrition.

It is just one of the many projects we do at Agricen to demonstrate that our biologically sourced tools can effectively increase crop yields.

Topics: Sustainability, SoilBuilder, Illinois, Corn, Water Management