(Posted Thu. May 17th, 2012)
Recent Purdue University research about growing efficiency in nitrogen use shows the importance of science in making modern production agriculture not only more efficient, but more sustainable in the long run, the National Corn Growers Association said.
“At a time when farmers need to work smarter and harder to grow their crops and maintain their farms for future farming generations, we’re especially looking for ways to reduce inputs and costs,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer, a corn grower in Illinois. “Research like this shows the importance of technology and smart agronomics in boosting yields in a sustainable way, with an eye toward conservation.”
In the case of the new Purdue study, researchers there reviewed 72 years of public-sector research data and found that today's hybrid corn varieties more efficiently use nitrogen to create more grain. The amount of grain produced per pound of nitrogen accumulated in corn plants is substantially greater than it was for corn hybrids of earlier decades, they noted.
Even more important than this particular study, Niemeyer noted, is that the Purdue researchers are optimistic about further research in this field, to serve farmers and the consumers that rely on them. The researchers are working toward methods to increase grain yields further by investigating the contribution of nitrogen to plant biomass and yield formation processes in high-yielding hybrids under a wide range of nitrogen inputs and production stress factors. In addition, they plan to further investigate how water use efficiency and nitrogen use efficiency are tied together, as well as how plants can achieve more tolerance to environmental stresses.
“The so-called ‘Green Revolution’ continues to this day, and our commitment to continuous improvement in all we do only stands to benefit when our land-grant universities fulfill their mission to serve American agriculture and the American public that relies on them,” Niemeyer said.