WGO: New Fertilizer Technology May Reduce Nitrogen Needs

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LIVE OAK, Fla. (WCJB) - A UF/IFAS extensions in Suwannee County is conducting research on new fertilizer technology that may help reduce the amount of nitrogen farmers need to use.

The experiment they are currently working on aims to use the fertilizer just once per season, as opposed to traditional fertilizer, which is used multiple times.

Bob Hochmuth, UF/IFAS Extension regional specialized agent for vegetable crops and assistant center director, says, “the technology perhaps is going to provide us the opportunity to make a lot more efficient use of fertilizer. The experiment that we're working with here on carrots will allow us to apply the controlled release material upfront at the beginning of the season and we won’t have to make any more applications of fertilizer throughout the season. “

The researchers at the extension office mainly do the research on the crops, but they also work very closely with other agencies to get the products. Hochmuth says they work closely with The Department of Agriculture, The Water Management District, and UF/IFAS to get the products from industry suppliers.

Hochmuth has been working on this research for about three years now and says he is very excited with the first batch of results, but there is still more work to be done in the future.

He says, “being able to take the technology that the fertilizer industry manufacturers have and matching that up specifically with the crop needs, whether that's a 150-day crop or a 90-day crop is where we're going to need to be for the future. We're at the very beginning, we're very excited and encouraged about the initial results, but I think it's going to take some time to fine-tune these schedules.“