Source: UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY submitted to
NON-TRADITIONAL SOIL AMENDMENT UTILIZATION AND PERFORMANCE TESTING
Sponsoring Institution
State Agricultural Experiment Station
Project Status
TERMINATED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0205943
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
UTA00296
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Jul 1, 2005
Project End Date
Jun 30, 2010
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
Cardon, G. E.
Recipient Organization
UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY
(N/A)
LOGAN,UT 84322
Performing Department
Plants, Soils & Climate
Non Technical Summary
No local data on the performance of non-traditional soil ammendments (i.e., biostimulants, humic substances, microbial innoculants, etc.) is available to growers faced with making decisions regarding the purchase and use of these compunds in their crop production programs. This integrated research and extension program provides objective, in-field performance evaluations on locally-untested materials marketed for crop growth and yield enhancement.
Animal Health Component
100%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
(N/A)
Applied
100%
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
10201102000100%
Knowledge Area
102 - Soil, Plant, Water, Nutrient Relationships;

Subject Of Investigation
0110 - Soil;

Field Of Science
2000 - Chemistry;
Goals / Objectives
The objectives of this project are: 1) To establish a systematic, statistically-sound annual research trial and testing program for non-traditional soil amendments in Utah, and, 2) To communicate the results of the program in rotational annual field-days at testing sites, and through annual reports in print and on-line formats.
Project Methods
The testing program will be designed in a fashion similar to on-going crop variety testing programs in Utah. Sites will be located at three to five locations around the state dictated by climate and/or major crop focus (corn silage, small grains, alfalfa, pasture land, onions, other veggies, etc.). Design elements will include ample replication and controls in a randomized block/split plot design, thorough chemical analysis of each amendment used, detailed soil analysis, and an option for proprietor-recommended application rates/practices for their material, or an agronomic application rate of each material based on it and the soil chemical analysis and nutrient deficiencies. Sites will be chosen where adequate control on variables external to the effect of the primary treatments can be maintained. Such variables will include soil type, soil fertility variation, irrigation variability, cultural practices (weed control, pest management, etc.) and others as necessary. Providing appropriate control in this research will be critical. Control plots will include plots with no amendment and no fertilizer, as well as plots with no amendment and a soil-test-based fertilizer application. Furthermore, treatment plots will include split-plots with and without soil-test-based fertilizer applications. To ensure data integrity, written SOP's will be developed, along with quality assurance/quality control procedures for field, sample transport/handling, sample preparation, and laboratory submission procedures. Each individual involved in the project will be trained from these SOP's. Annual Extension summaries of field trial results in both print and on-line formats will be provided. Periodic (3- to 5-year) compilations of data will be written up and submitted to appropriate journals for peer-reviewed publication. These multi-year summaries will also be made available to the Compendium of Research Reports on Use of Non-Traditional Materials for Crop Production at Iowa State University for inclusion in their national research database. Field days will be organized on an annual rotational basis so that they are conducted at each of the testing sites around the state at least every other year. On off years for any particular site, field days in regionally-accessible alternate sites will be available where interested individuals may see the trials in the field and receive updated information on all sites. The field days will be set up early in the year so that side-by-side comparison of crop condition and performance can be observed by those attending. Data for crop performance, quality, and economic returns will be presented in print summaries for each field site. An annual report including the data and discussion for each site around the state will be published in both print and on-line formats. A mechanism will be initiated on line for broadcast updates on project progress and results to be sent automatically to those who register for the service.

Progress 07/01/05 to 06/30/10

Outputs
OUTPUTS: This project was designed to provide Utah farmers with state- and region-specific information on the use of soil fetility ammendments other than traditional mineral fertilizers such as biostimulatnts, humic materials, composts, biosolids, and micronutrient ammendments. Many of these products are unregulated in Utah and other Intermountain Region states and field testing under western US climate and soil conditions is imperative. This project, over its length, provided three separate field demonstrations in Seveir, Weber and Millard counties of the use and efficacy of such ammendments, two educational slide sets for use by county Extension agents, and annual grower workshop and professional scientific presentations. The information provided by the field demonstrations was summarized for the annual workshops and disseminted in the slide sets to all county Extension agents directly, and provided to Extension clientele via fact sheets made avaialble through USU Cooperative Extension. The information was also dissemniated to scientific audiences at the bi-annual Western Nutrient Management Conference held in Salt Lake City, UT in March 2007 and 2009, the Soil Sicence Society of America annual meetings in November 2007, and other regional scientific conferences. PARTICIPANTS: James Barnhill, Weber County Extension Agent; David Drake, Seveir County Extension Agent; Craig Poulsen, Millard County Extension Agent; Linden Greenhalgh, Toole County Extension Agent; Pamela Hole, supervisor of the USU Analytical Laboratory (USUAL); Tiffany Evans, technician USUAL. TARGET AUDIENCES: Utah agricultural Extension clientele, WERA-103 USDA western region research committee colleagues in soil fertility analysis and manangement; international/national colleagues in soil fertility analysis and management. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.

Impacts
The research indicated little to no enhancement of crop productivity or soil fertility using non-traditional nutrient delivery materials over traditional fertilizers. Non-traditional amendments (particularly those in the bio-stimulant, humic material, or organo-nutrient complex categories) are two- to four-fold the cost of traditional fertilizers (on a unit-to-unit nutrient comparative basis). Assuming a 10-20% adoption rate of extension-based information (based on participant surveys on other Utah Extension programs) the research information generated by this project and disseminated in Extension presentations, has the potential to save Utah alfalfa growers $14.2 million in unnecessary annual production costs for Phosphorus (P) fertilization alone. This estimate is based on average alfalfa acreage in the counties where this research information has been disseminated, average annual alfalfa need for P, and average cost per unit P from both traditional and non-traditional fertility amendments.

Publications

  • Barnhill, J. V., Cardon, G., Pace, M., Israelsen, C. E., Miner, D., Greenhalgh, L., Banks, S. J., Shao, M., Rothlisberger, D., Olsen, S. H. 2009. Northern Utah Alfalfa Nutrient Survey 2008. AG/Crops/2009-01 pr.
  • Greenhalgh, L., McFarland, M., Cardon, G., Vutran, M., Schmitz, M. D., & Brobst, R. B. 2009. Metals in Biosolids-Amended Soils in Western Utah: J. of Ag. Ext. and Rural Devel, 1: 17-Aug.
  • Cardon, G., & Barnhill, J. 2009. Micro-Nutrients in Alfalfa Production: Is There Need/Opportunity for Cost Effective Management. pp. 1-3 Western Nutrient Management Conference. Salt Lake City, UT.
  • Cardon, G. 2008. Fassio Farms Compost: A Product of Tooele County: Homeowner utilization guide, 2008.
  • Cardon, G. 2008. Fassio Farms Compost: A Product of Tooele County: Landowner utilization guide, 2008.
  • Kotuby-Amacher, J., Cardon, G., & Evans, T. 2008. Comparison of pH and Salinity Analyses for Manure. Agron. Abstracts. Am. Soc. of Agron., Madison, WI.
  • Cardon, G., & Kotuby-Amacher, J. 2007. New Tools in Soil and Manure Test Information Interpretation in Utah. pp. 91-97 Proceedings, Western Nutrient Management Conference, Salt Lake City, UT, March 8-10, 2007.
  • Drake, D. R., Griggs, T. C., & Cardon, G. 2006. Alfalfa yield and quality response to foliar applied non-traditional fertilizers. Western Alfalfa and Forage Conference. Reno, NV.
  • Drake, D. R., Cardon, G., & Griggs, T. C., 2006. Use of Non-Traditional Soil Amendments in Alfalfa Production. Agron. Abstracts. Am. Soc. of Agron., Madison, WI.
  • Cardon, G. 2006. Selected Soils Extension Presentations CD. A compendium of PowerPoint presentations on various soil fertility and soil management topics. USU Extension Annual Conference, March 2006.
  • Miller, R. L., Jensen, B., Munns, B., & Cardon, G., 2009. Use of Steel Slag to Reduce Phosphorus Loading in Animal Waste Handling Systems. 2009 Agronomy Abstracts. American Society of Agronomy, Madison, WI.
  • Miller, R. L., Jensen, B., Munns, B., Cardon, G. 2009. Use of Steel Slag to Reduce Phosphorus in Animal Waste Effluent. American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers: ASABE Paper No. 096924.


Progress 01/01/09 to 12/31/09

Outputs
OUTPUTS: Work this year under this project focused on surveying the nutrient levels (both macro- and micro-nutrients) in northern Utah alfalfa production settings. The primary objective of the work was to look for spatial trends of nutrient sufficiency/deficiency and to explore the need/opportunity for increased efforts, or changes in focus, with respect to soil and tissue sampling and plant nutrient management. The survey gives us opportunity to assess the effectiveness of our Extension guidance publications and educational efforts. Soil and alfalfa tissue samples were collected from 38 fields in ten northern Utah counties. Soil and tissue samples were taken just before the first cutting of alfalfa in the spring of 2008. The number of fields sampled in a given county was proportional to the alfalfa acres produced in that county. Soil and tissue levels of nutrients were compared against Utah State University guidelines for sufficiency as well as sources for similar interpretive information from neighboring universities and agencies located in the western US. Maps of specific nutrient levels were created to visualize the spatial distribution of sufficiency/deficiency and to identify, if any, developing trends in the same. Presentations on micronutrient levels in soils and alfalfa tissue samples in Northern Utah were made at two regional meetings. The first presentation was made at the Utah Hay Symposium held in Saint George, UT, January 29-30, 2009. Over 200 growers and forage management professionals were in attendance and were introduced to the needs and opportunities for managing these non-traditional soil fertility conditions. The second presentation was made at the Western Nutrient Management Conference held March 4-5, 2009, in Salt Lake City, UT. This conference brings together soil scientists and soil testing/consulting professionals from all over the western US. Over 100 members of the scientific community were reached by this presentation and offered professional feedback and guidance as to continued efforts in this area of focus in my research programs. The research effort resulted in a Utah State University Applied Extension Report disseminated through the USU Extension on-line publications web site. PARTICIPANTS: James Barnhill, Weber County Extension Agent; Linden Greenhalgh, Toole County Extension Agent; Pamela Hole, supervisor of the USU Analytical Laboratory (USUAL); Tiffany Evans, technician USUAL. TARGET AUDIENCES: Utah agricultural Extension clientele, WERA-103 USDA western region research committee colleagues in soil fertility analysis and manangement; international/national colleagues in soil fertility analysis and management. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.

Impacts
We have identified a number of micronutrients including Boron, Sulfur, Manganese, Copper and Zinc, whose levels in soils and plant tissues warrant closer attention and further study. It appears that there is opportunity to improve alfalfa productivity through testing for and possibly amending soils with micro-nutrients on 10 to 50% (depending on the nutrient) of alfalfa acreage indicating a potentially significant economic incentive associated with our findings. Micronutrients are rarely tested for in alfalfa production and there seems to be impetus for taking a more critical look at their management in Utah

Publications

  • L.K. Greenhalgh, G.E. Cardon, M.J McFarland, Mainanh Vutran, M.D. Schmitz and R.B. Brobst 2009. Metals in Biosolids-Amended Soils in Western Utah. J. of Ag. Ext. and Rural Devel 1:8-17.


Progress 01/01/08 to 12/31/08

Outputs
OUTPUTS: Formal field research work with non-traditional soil fertility amendments in Sevier County was completed in 2008. Results from three studies in the county are currently being analyzed and prepared for publication. One of the principal investigators on the study is leaving Utah State University, which will occassion the need to redirect efforts within this project and redesign the research effort. Work continues with dairy and other producers across the state desiring to utilize organic-based materials and delivery options for the management of soil fertility and plant nutrition. We continue to interface with these growers as a resource for soil and plant tissue sampling and interpretation of analyses. Demonstration and research plots have been placed on grower fields for nitrogen and phosphorus fertility management using non-traditional fertilty amendments. Growers have been able to maintain productivity levels as compared to traditional fertilizer applications and have the added benefits of organic certification, and resource stewardship. We have also continued work with the providers of non-traditional soil fertility amendments. This effort is focused primarily on analyzing nutrient content and formulating dosing recommendations for products marketed to Utah producers. Prime examples of this are poultry manure and compost products, municipal biosolids, and chemical production wastes with crop plant nutrition potential. PARTICIPANTS: David Drake, Sevier County agricultural agent; Extension County staff across the State of Utah; Grower-cooperators in Richfield and Salina, Utah; Intermountain Farmers Association (IFA), Richfield Utah; Pamela Hole, supervisor of the USU Analytical Laboratory (USUAL); Tiffany Evans, technician USUAL; Linden Greenhalgh, Tooele County Extension Agent. TARGET AUDIENCES: Utah agricultural Extension clientele, WERA-103 USDA western region research committee colleagues in soil fertility analysis and manangement; international/national colleagues in soil fertility analysis and management. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.

Impacts
Two new (updated) guides were prepared from data on a local composted chicken manure product for users in homeowner and landowner/grower settings. The work with the compost producer was partially responsible for obtaining and maintaining OMRI certification for the material, allowing the producer to market the product as an organic fertility amendment. This has provided a new market for the producer.

Publications

  • G.E. Cardon and L. Greenhalgh 2009. Fassio Farms Compost: A Product of Tooele County: Homeowner utilization guide, 2008. Utah State University Extension, Logan, UT.
  • Grant E. Cardon and Linden Greenhalgh 2009. Fassio Farms Compost: A Product of Tooele County: Landowner utilization guide, 2008. Utah State University Extension, Logan, UT.


Progress 01/01/07 to 12/31/07

Outputs
OUTPUTS: Two primary projects made up the bulk of effort in 2007. The first of these projects was continued work in Sevier County, Utah on the efficacy of soil-applied bio-stimulants on the productivity of forages. The third year of research was completed in 2006, and work in 2007 focused on the processing of soil and forage samples and beginning the data summary process. A paper on the Sevier County research has been drafted and is soon to be submitted for review. The second project was an effort to survey and summarize the fertilizer value of local animal waste products across the state. Late in 2006 a request was issued to all county Extension agents to sample, in triplicate, all animal waste products available in their areas whether composted or raw, and commercially available or privately used. These samples were submitted to the USU Analytical Laboratory for processing for pH, salinity and fertilizer value. Over 200 samples covering a wide range of animal sources (bovine, equine, swine, ovine, caprine and poultry) were obtained. The results of the survey were presented at the Western Nutrient Management Conference in Salt Lake City in March 2007, and at the American Society of Agronomy annual meetings in New Orleans, LA in November 2007. A summary paper is published as noted below. Barney, B.J., Drake, D.R., Griggs, T.C., & Cardon, G.E. 2007. Effect of non-traditional soil amendments on alfalfa forage quality. [Student Poster] Extension Annual Planning & Professional Development Conference. Logan, UT. March 6-8. Cardon, Grant E. and Janice Kotuby-Amacher. 2007. New Tools in Soil and Manure Test Information Interpretation in Utah. Proceedings, Western Nutrient Management Conference, Salt Lake City, UT, March 8-10, 2007 pp 91-97. J. Kotuby-Amacher, G.E. Cardon and T. Evans. 2007. Comparison of pH and Salinity Analyses for Manure. Agron. Abstracts. Am. Soc. of Agron., Madison, WI. PARTICIPANTS: David Drake, Sevier County agricultural agent; Extension County staffs across the state of Utah; Grower-cooperators in Richfield and Salina, Utah; Intermountain Farmers Association (IFA), Richfield Utah; Tom Griggs, USU Extension Agronomist; Jan Kotuby-Amacher, director of the USU Analytical Laboratory (USUAL); Tiffany Evans, technician USUAL; Brooke Barney, USU undergraduate student. TARGET AUDIENCES: Utah agricultural Extension clientele, WERA-103 USDA western region research committee colleagues in soil fertility analysis and manangement; international/national colleagues in soil fertility analysis and management.

Impacts
Findings in the first project revealed little to no effect, but no detrimental effect, of the use of these non-traditional soil fertility amendments in alfalfa and hay production. The design of the experiments was such that treatment effects were not statistically significant. However, some treatment effects, particularly on forage quality measures, bordered on significance and warrant further, more highly replicated research. The resulting database of the second project allowed for a detailed survey of "typical" Utah fertilizer-equivalency values for animal waste products and provides a resource for the guidance of their use in agricultural and horticultural production systems. The samples were also processed using several alternative methods in the lab allowing for the refining and development of time-saving, efficient processing of manure and compost samples in the lab.

Publications

  • Barney, B.J., Drake, D.R., Griggs, T.C., & Cardon, G.E. 2007. Effect of non-traditional soil amendments on alfalfa forage quality. [Student Poster] Extension Annual Planning & Professional Development Conference. Logan, UT. March 6-8.
  • Cardon, Grant E. and Janice Kotuby-Amacher. 2007. New Tools in Soil and Manure Test Information Interpretation in Utah. Proceedings, Western Nutrient Management Conference, Salt Lake City, UT, March 8-10, 2007 pp 91-97.
  • J. Kotuby-Amacher, G.E. Cardon and T. Evans. 2007. Comparison of pH and Salinity Analyses for Manure. Agron. Abstracts. Am. Soc. of Agron., Madison, WI.


Progress 01/01/06 to 12/31/06

Outputs
No local data on the performance of non-traditional soil amendments (i.e., biostimulants, humic substances, microbial innoculants, etc.) is available to growers faced with making decisions regarding the purchase and use of these compounds in their crop production programs. This integrated research and extension program provides objective, in-field performance evaluations on locally-untested materials marketed for crop growth and yield enhancement. Two research projects were established or continued in 2006 and form a basis for working out protocols for the formal state-wide non-traditional soil fertility materials testing program. The first project is in Sevier County on two cooperator fields in Aurora and Salina, Utah. Both experiments are set up to test the impact of several biostimulant, organic soil fertility amendments on alfalfa production and forage quality. Treatments include application of the biostimulant with and without companion fertilizer and pesticide applications. The products tested carry the following trade names: BioPlus, Jumpstart, Agzyme, and Trend. Preliminary results (two years of data) show no significant increase or loss of yield or quality with the use of these products. Some mid-season data shows effects bordering on significance (p-values 0.2 to 0.3), but the results are not consistent year-to-year. This is presumably due to sampling and analysis errors, the control of which is the focus of these preliminary studies. The second study is in Millard County in cooperation with an alfalfa grower in Lynndyl, Utah. In this experiment we are comparing the effects of various products for phosphorus fertility management on highly calcareous soil. The products being compared are standard monoammonium phosphate fertilizer, raw chicken manure, and ProGerminator, an organic-sequestered P fertility product. We have just completed the first year of data collection for both yield and forage quality. No data summary is yet available.

Impacts
We now have preliminary, replicated, rigorous test results for a selection of products marketed in the state of Utah. Grower education will begin, starting at both the Seveir and Millard County locations, through formal crop schools to be held at the beginning of 2007. We anticipate growers having unbiased information to guide their decision to purchase and apply these products. Based, in part, on the preliminary data from the Seveir County experiments, the local supplier of the products has decided to discontinue offering one of the products that was not shown (in three years of testing) to have any impact on alfalfa yield or quality. This is certainly not the purpose of the program, but it does show a local response to our work that greatly impacts the growers and ag-related businesses of the region. Moreover, the results from the Seveir County experiments were presented at the American Society of Agronomy meetings in Indianapolis IN (November 2006), and at the Western Regional Alfalfa Management conference in Reno NV (December 2006). Over 5,000 scientists, growers, and forage industry professionals have had access and exposure to our work.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period