Monsanto and The Climate Corporation are partnering up with the Iowa State University (ISU) Department of Agronomy to create an infrastructure project designed to monitor water quality and downstream nitrate loss. The project will provide researchers with valuable information on management practices that help keep nitrogen fertilizer from entering surrounding waterways.
Monsanto and The Climate Corporation invested more than $300,000 to fund the initial installation of the infrastructure, which features a system of drainage tiles and water monitoring equipment on 30 acres of ISU research plots. The installation will be owned and operated by the University.
“We are fortunate to partner with Iowa State University on agricultural research that advances innovation to solve challenges like water quality,” said Sam Eathington, chief science officer of Monsanto and The Climate Corporation. “Insights from this research will help stakeholders across the industry better understand how modern agriculture practices and technologies drive productivity, optimize the use of key inputs and deliver sustainability benefits on the farm.”
Nitrogen is a nutrient critical for plant growth and development, and the addition of nitrogen fertilizer is a common practice in crop management. Climactic conditions such as heavy rainfall and temperature changes, combined with the natural soil processes can lead to situations where nitrogen is susceptible to loss to nearby waterways. The research conducted within this new infrastructure will produce water samples, flow information, and weather data against a backdrop of different farming application practices and nitrogen use in order to better understand which practices can reduce nitrate runoff.
“Farmers are the primary benefactors of this partnership with Monsanto and The Climate Corporation,” said Dr. Kendall Lamkey, department chair of the Iowa State University Department of Agronomy. “Our goal is always to conduct research that makes their lives easier, more productive, and more profitable while minimizing the impact to our natural resources.”
The ISU Department of Agronomy is currently in the process of identifying the best site for this project. Under consideration are three ISU-owned farms located between Ames and Huxley, Iowa.