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Farming gets smart - Ohio’s precision fertilizer tech

Farming gets smart - Ohio’s precision fertilizer tech

By Andi Anderson

Ohio State University soil scientists and agronomists have introduced the Fertilizer Recommendation Support Tool (FRST).

This innovative online platform is designed to enhance nutrient management across U.S. farms, potentially saving millions in fertilizer costs and reducing environmental impact.

Assistant Professor Manbir Rakkar from Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, Environmental, and Environmental Sciences shared his enthusiasm: “FRST provides unbiased, science-based interpretation of soil test phosphorus and potassium values for crop fertilization from across the U.S. It indicates where there is no expected yield increase from fertilizer application,” he explained.

“Quickly changing climate conditions only make efficient fertilizer management more complicated. This new tool can potentially save farmers and land managers millions of dollars annually while reducing excess nutrient losses to the environment.”

Leonardo Deiss, a visiting assistant professor in Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR) and a project team member, commented on the tool's broader implications: “We are extremely excited about the launch of this digital decision support tool. FRST was developed in response to the pressing need to harmonize soil testing across state boundaries. It represents an improvement in our ability to evaluate soil test correlation.”

FRST is built on a robust database of over 2,500 phosphorus and potassium trials for 21 major agricultural crops, primarily corn and soybeans, gathered from 40 states and Puerto Rico.

This database is continuously updated, ensuring that it offers the most current and accurate guidance possible.

Key features of FRST include:

  • Data-driven: Dynamic, regularly updated database improves testing confidence.
  • Crop specific: Tailored recommendations for 21 major commodity crops.
  • Geographically diverse: Data from across 40 states and Puerto Rico.
  • Unbiased: Eliminates political and institutional bias in soil test interpretation.
  • Scientifically sound: Minimum dataset provides reliable outcomes.

Funding for the FRST project has been provided by various USDA branches, including the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, alongside corporate partner OCP North America.

This collaborative effort underscores the commitment to advancing agricultural practices that benefit both farmers and the environment.

Photo Credit: ohio-state-university

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Categories: Ohio, Education, Rural Lifestyle

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