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At Cornell University Nutrient Management Spear Program, our vision is to assess current knowledge, identify research and educational needs, conduct applied, field and laboratory-based research, facilitate technology and knowledge transfer, and aid in the on-farm implementation of strategies for field crop nutrient management, including timely application of organic and inorganic nutrient sources to improve profitability and competitiveness of New York State farms while protecting the environment. For more information see our latest .

Program Mission

NY cows

Agriculture is one of New York State's largest businesses, and keeping our farms sustainable is critical to the economy of the state, particularly in rural areas. Maintaining economic viability while ensuring environmental quality is key to their sustainability. Sustainability of New York State farms can be improved through more effective use of existing knowledge to guide strategic planning and daily decision-making. The ability to use current knowledge in planning and decision-making is, in part, limited by computer tools that can apply existing scientific knowledge, as well as help summarize the complex records kept in modern agricultural production systems. A research program is needed to improve our understanding of soil and environmental parameters that affect the accuracy of existing nutrient recommendations and the risk for environmental pollution. Such understanding will allow for refinement of the recommendations while enhanced technology can increase the use of farm records to make farm-specific recommendations with the ultimate goal of improving profitability while protecting the environment. A nutrient management extension program is needed to improve communication, information exchange, and knowledge transfer between Cornell University's research programs, extension field staff, agricultural consultants, the fertilizer industry and regulatory agencies.

Research Program

  • Goal:
    • Improve understanding of nutrient release and risk for runoff and leaching losses from inorganic and organic amendments as affected by soil type, hydrology, time and rate of application, and the use of specific soil and fertilizer amendments (research).
  • Specific Objectives:
    • Improve our understanding of phosphorus dynamics on dairy farms
    • Calibration of the New York P index.
    • Contribute to the understanding of the use of soil testing for agronomic response (yield and quality) and environmental risk assessment.
    • Develop fertility management guidelines for brown midrib sorghum sudangrass.
    • Improve our predictions of nutrient release from organic nutrient sources.
    • Increase our understanding of the relationships between organic management, crop quality, and soil health in field crop systems.

Extension Program

  • Goal:
    • Improve grower and agricultural industry awareness of crop nutrient needs, crop quality, management of organic amendments, environmentally sound nutrient management practices, and overall soil fertility management in the state of New York (extension).
  • Specific Objectives:
    • Facilitating timely knowledge transfer to producers and policy makers. This includes training and aiding in the training of certified crop advisors (CCA's), nutrient management planners, agricultural consultants, NRCS and SWCD personnel.
    • Assisting in efforts to obtain widespread adoption of individual best management practices.
    • Facilitate the nutrient management planning process through development of management tools, training and support.