- Author: Jessica Rudnick
- Contributor: Michelle Leinfelder-Miles
Nitrogen (N) fertilizers are widely used in California's agricultural systems to enhance efficiency and crop production, yet there is also growing concern around nitrogen losses from irrigated crop lands that have the potential to impact water quality. Efforts from Cooperative Extension programs have worked to offer growers a toolbox of management practices that aim to increase N use efficiency and decrease any losses from the farm (See Solution Center for Nutrient Management). These management practices help to save growers money, give the crops the appropriate amount of nutrients they need to grow and thrive, while maintaining excellent stewardship of the land and water. UC Davis researchers want to know about how growers use the management practice tools from this toolbox and we're sending a survey out to growers in 2018 to ask them about this.
Our research team is a well-rounded group coming from the Departments of Plant Sciences and Environmental Science and Policy, so that together we can understand what practices are being widely used, what practices have large adoption barriers that we must work together to overcome, which areas across the state will have the most “bang for the buck” when adopting certain practices, and how current outreach, education and incentive programs, as well as regulatory requirements, influence growers' decisions to adopt these practices.
In June 2018, we are sending the survey out to about 4,000 growers in the northern San Joaquin Valley and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta regions (including Madera, Merced, Stanislaus, San Joaquin, Contra Costa, Alameda, Calaveras, Tuolumne and Mariposa counties) this June. We sent the survey to nearly 2,000 growers in the Sacramento Valley region in spring 2018 and had a high response rate where growers offered a variety of perspectives on their experiences with nitrogen management practices and regulations.
The goal of this project is to understand what education and outreach resources around nitrogen management are useful to growers, where the gaps in resources needed exist, how growers are understanding the new policies that are coming down the pipeline and how we can optimize both the extension and outreach around nitrogen.
We encourage any grower who receives a Nitrogen Management Survey in the mail from UC Davis to please participate in this project. It is important to have broad representation in the data we collect so that we know how to best move forward building programs and resources that support the ever-changing needs of California's growers.
Please contact Jessica Rudnick, a researcher and graduate student on the research team with any comments or questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.