New Website for Regional Corn Nitrogen Rate Calculator

AMES, Iowa – The regional Corn Nitrogen Rate Calculator website, which has been helping farmers determine profitable nitrogen rates since 2005, now has a new URL ( and a revised nitrogen response trial database, and is more user friendly for mobile devices.

The largest changes to the website are the updated individual state nitrogen rate response trial database and, for Iowa, the addition of the southeast Iowa region. Nitrogen response trial sites for Iowa are grouped by two geographic regions, which now matches guidelines in the publication Nitrogen Use in Iowa Corn Production (CROP 3073). The publication can be downloaded for free at the online extension store.

“The site revisions allow users to have access to the latest nitrogen rate research, and it offers more tailored rate guidelines in Iowa,” said John Sawyer, professor and extension soil fertility and nutrient management specialist at Iowa State University.

While suggested nitrogen rates may have changed somewhat due to the update, the concept and calculation process of the online tool remains the same. The method continues to be based on a regional approach, providing nitrogen rate guidelines in six states across the Corn Belt: Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

“The corn nitrogen rate calculator benefits farmers so they can understand needed nitrogen application rates, adjust for different crop rotations, and provide guidance and flexibility in choice of application rate,” said Sawyer. “More importantly, it allows adjustment in rate for changing nitrogen and corn prices.”

Using the Maximum Return to Nitrogen concept within the CNRC also helps farmers implement the most economical nitrogen rate inputs, which helps moderate water quality issues.

For more information about the CNRC, visit


    Saturated Buffers Improving Iowa Water Quality

    AMES, Iowa – Using science-based research, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach specialists are working to improve the quality of water throughout the state of Iowa. The use of saturated buffers in watersheds has proven to be a successful nitrate management practice.

    ISU Extension and Outreach has been forging partnerships with private land-owners in Iowa watersheds to establish saturated buffers. These buffers reduce the movement of sediment, phosphorus and nitrogen into surface water while redirecting water into the root zone of the buffer.

    Click on the infographic below to enlarge…



      Climate Change in the Corn Belt

      ClimateChg_CoverResearchers with the Climate and Corn-based Cropping Systems Coordinated Agricultural Project (commonly known as the Sustainable Corn Project) have documented 130 findings. This new publication of findings explains how climate change is impacting and will continue to impact weather in the Corn Belt. Author Raymond Arritt’s research encompasses mesoscale meteorology, regional climate, and aerobiology in the Departments of Agronomy and Geological and Atmospheric Sciences at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. You can download the report HERE.


        Corn Project Findings

        Corn plants at tasseling_webResearchers with the Climate and Corn-based Cropping Systems Coordinated Agricultural Project (commonly known as the Sustainable Corn Project) have documented 130 findings, some of which will be explored during a Feb. 11 webinar, open to the public through Iowa State University

        The five-year USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture research project is nearing completion, led by Lois Wright Morton, a professor of sociology at Iowa State University. In 2011, Morton convened 140 researchers from 10 land-grant universities in the Corn Belt and USDA Agricultural Research Service, to begin a study of farmers’ perceptions and farm management practices.

        The practices had the potential to provide resilience in times of drought, reduce soil and nutrient losses under saturated soil conditions, decrease field nitrogen losses, retain carbon in the soil and ensure crop and soil productivity. The researchers collected measurements at 35 field sites with diverse landscapes and soils, and from surveys of thousands of Midwestern farmers, entering all the data into one database for the team’s use. Continue reading


          Effectively Engaging Producers in Conservation Conversations

          WEBINAR: February 16, 1:00 p.m. CST; 2:00 EST

          Participate to learn what social scientists are discovering about how farmers are thinking about conservation practices and practical strategies for engaging them.

          Emphasis of this webinar will include findings on farmer uncertainty about conservation practices, using social norms to leverage practices that address off field/off farm nutrient losses, and how the language of conservation can influence social learning and behavior change.

          The presenter is Lois Wright Morton, a professor of sociology at Iowa State University and the Director of the Sustainable Corn Project..The Adobe Connect webinar is hosted by USDA NRCS Science and Technology and will be available on their website at the following link:


            Lois Wright Morton

            Wright-Morton_2014AugLeading a diverse team of scientists and specialists, with USDA’s Sustainable Corn Project, is Lois Wright Morton. In addition to leading the 10-university team, Morton is a farmer, a sociology professor at Iowa State University, and a member of the North American Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance. The USDA recently interviewed her for their series which highlights different leading women in agriculture. Read the interview at


              Corn SplitN Decision Support Tool Now Available in All 12 Corn Belt States


              Now farmers and advisors in all 12 Corn Belt states can use the free Corn-Split N decision support tool, developed by the USDA-funded Useful to Useful climate initiative. The tool helps farmers and advisors manage nitrogen application for efficiency and profit. Corn yield response data from seven new states, together with statistical modeling of days suitable for field work in those states, has recently been added.

              Farmers in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio and Michigan can get customized results based on their planting and fertilization schedule, local costs and available equipment. A summarized fieldwork table and crop calendar makes it easy for farmers to see how schedule adjustments might affect their ability to fertilize on time.

              Continue reading


                Climate & Ag Research by Next Generation Scientists

                booklet_shadowLearn about research being conducted, by the Sustainable Corn Project’s graduate students and post-doctoral students, in a new booklet now available for viewing online. Prepared for a poster symposium to be held in Washinton, D.C., October 15-16, the booklet contains 31 research summaries, describing the work of some of the next generation, climate and agriculture scientists, who are currently conducting their research with our project, under the supervision of our Principal Investigators and faculty at participating universities.



                  First Fall Freeze?

                  Dennis Todey, South Dakota State Climatologist

                  Pat Guinan, Missouri State Climatologist

                  This time of year questions about frost/freeze potential are common as producers look for a little more time for crops to mature, or gardeners and horticultural interests hope for some extra days to collect a few more tomatoes. Projecting specific frost dates are difficult beyond using models out to 1-2 weeks. Thus, climatologies and current crop progress become very important.

                  This year, current crop progress varies greatly across the Plains and Midwest because of spring and early summer planting conditions. Early spring in the northern plains/upper Midwest was quite dry allowing easy planting progress and warm soils before rains started occurring in May. This situation was in large contrast to the southern and eastern parts of the Corn Belt. Continue reading


                    New climate education resource for educators

                    NOAA, the NCAnet Education Affinity Group, and members of the CLEAN Network have developed a series of guides for educators that focus on the regional chapters of NOAA’s National Climate Assessment Report, helping to unpack the key messages of each region and point to related, high-quality online resources.  You can find it here: