Research underway at the University of Idaho should give growers who use cover crops, which are grown as a natural fertilizer source, a better idea of how much nitrogen is being released into their fields.
Researchers say a spreadsheet developed by Oregon State University is the best tool now available to help Idaho growers calculate nitrogen release from organic fertilizer sources. But it doesn't account for Idaho's alkaline silt loam soils and unique growing conditions.
UI Extension soils scientist Amber Moore is midway through three years of field trials to create an Idaho-specific nitrogen calculator derived from OSU's model. Her work is financed with a $75,000 Natural Resources Conservation Service grant.
SOURCE: John O'Connell, Capital Press