The Husker team gained momentum in developing nitrogen-saving crops

With the rising cost of nitrogen fertilizer across the country, a team of Nebraska-Lincoln scientists has discovered new resources and partners as they work to reduce the amount of nitrogen required by crops such as sorghum and maize to reach maximum production potential.

The National Science Foundation has recently provided additional funding for the $ 3.9 million 2018 project, a four-year collaboration between the Hudson Alpha Institute of Biotechnology, based in Nebraska and Alabama. A two-year extension will provide funding to expand the partnership to include Alabama A&M University and support field experiments and experiments to be built on the project’s initial research in areas under the control of the Nebraska Innovation Campus Greenhouse Innovation Center.

The recent rise in the price of nitrogen fertilizer, an important input for crop farmers in Nebraska and around the world, underscores the need for new crops that produce more grain than small-scale fertilizers. Increased energy prices, rising freight prices, rising tariffs and climate change are pushing nitrogen fertilizer production and distribution costs to new heights. At the same time, there are growing concerns about the impact of nitrogen fertilizer discharge on rural drinking water quality and ecological services. Nebraska farmers and producers highlight the challenges around the world as they work to increase their food supply to meet the estimated population demand of 10 billion by 2050.

“Increasing efficiency is one of the very few winners in agriculture,” said Charles O. Gardner James Schnebel, an agricultural professor. He leads the Nebraska team, which is Tom Clementen, Eugene W. Price, Honorary Professor of Biotechnology; Euphine G., Harold W. Eberhard, Honorary Professor of Biological System Engineering; And Glingling Young, Assistant Professor of Agriculture and Vegetation. “Nutrient-efficient crops can reduce the environmental impact of agriculture by sustaining or increasing crop yields and increasing farmers’ profits per hectare at the same time. At current prices, many farmers in Nebraska need to spend more than $ 100 per hectare of nitrogen fertilizer next year.

In the next phase of the project, the team will focus on field research using the Tx430 sorghum gene control networks using 406 sorghum species collected from around the world. The researchers will plant the lines in both the Nebraska tropics and the Alabama tropics under nitrogen-deficient conditions. They collect information on crop-related sorghum using full-time, manual measurements, high-frequency measurements, and drone-based automated finotype. Those parameters are used to identify genes and gene control networks related to how well the different sorghum lines are tolerated or developed under different conditions.

“In 2018, we started working with sorghum for two reasons,” Schnable said. “The first is that crops like maize can grow on crop lands where there is not enough water to grow them. But sorghum is more susceptible to nitrogen deficiency than corn. In my field experiment, one treatment may be sick and yellow in corn, but an untrained eye cannot tell the difference between sorghum or fertilizer before harvest. The focus of this project is on how sorghum can adapt to low nitrogen-free soils, but my hope is that the results will serve as a roadmap for making corn more efficient.

Partnership with Alabama A&MAt the historic Black, Landscaping University, the Nebraska Center reflects the priority for plant-science collaboration between the University and the University HBCU Researchers and students. Of NSF Financial support Alabama A&M Showing undergraduate students and researchers in the field of agriculture to enable undergraduate students to conduct research in Nebraska and Hudson Alpha during the summer.

The partnership will also enable Nebraska and Hudson alpha fighters to share their knowledge of digital and real-world agriculture, in particular by evaluating the physical characteristics of plants using drones and other high-tech equipment such as robots, cameras and laser scanners. They will partner with Alabama A&MErnest Sebert and Zianan Quang to develop that facility’s ability to automate drone-based automated financing, and adoption is a priority for Alabama. A&M.

“Alabama A&M He is very happy to be a part of it. NSFA funded project, said Sebert, who heads the University’s Winfred Thomas Agricultural Research Center. “In addition to participating in such a scientific and environmental impact project, it is important that we contribute to the future of biopsy manpower training.”

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