Manure Manager November December 2016 : Page 6
INDUSTRY NEWS manuremanager.com New app helps farmers make management decisions A new app from Ohio State University allows growers to compare the effectiveness of different management decisions within fields. The aim, in part, is to improve water quality throughout the state. Called Ohio State PLOTS, the free app allows growers, as well as consultants and others who support growers, to design replicated plot layouts by creating on-farm trials that can compare hybrids, seeding populations, fertilizer rates and nutrient management systems, among other practices and inputs. The app allows users to digitally compare various treatments within their fields to determine the best management plan for their fields, before extending financial or labor resources. The app was designed as a tool to help improve water quality in Ohio by allowing users to fine-tune nutrient management more accurately and reliably for a farm operation and by encouraging on-farm studies. The app, which is available for both Apple and Android devices, includes a random number generator that removes human error when developing plot layouts. The app allows users to define an experiment that compares various response parameters such as yield, stand counts, crop health and varieties. The report details information the user has entered regarding a specific trial, notes and photos they’ve taken throughout the growing season, and statistically analyzes parameters. The report can be shared with crop consultants and agronomists through the app. Users can also choose to keep the report private and stored in the cloud or exported as a CSV file to be used in programs such as Excel and Access. The app can be downloaded free by searching for “Ohio State Plots” in the App Store and Google Play Store. More information on the app can be found at fabe.osu.edu/programs/precision-ag/other. SCIENTISTS MAKE DISCOVERY THAT COULD REDUCE AGRICULTURAL WASTE Indiana University researchers have reported the first definitive evidence for a new molecular structure with potential applications to reduce the chemicals that contaminate water and trigger large fish kills. The study, which was published recently in the German scientific journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition, provides experimental proof for the existence of a chemical bond between two negatively charged molecules of bisulfate, or HSO4. The existence of this structure – a “supramolecule” with two negatively charged ions – was once regarded as impossible since it appears to defy a nearly 250-year-old chemical law that has recently come under new scrutiny. “An anion-anion dimerization of bisulfate goes against simple expectations of Coulomb’s law,” said Amar Flood, a professor in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Chemistry and senior author on the study. “But the structural evidence we present in this paper shows two hydroxy anions can in fact be chemically bonded. We believe the long-range repulsions between these anions are offset by short-range attractions.” In molecular chemistry, two monomer molecules connected by a strong covalent bond are called a “dimer.” (A polymer is a chain of many monomers.) In supramolecular chemistry, the dimers are connected by many weak, non-covalent bonds. A negatively charged particle is an anion. The ability to produce a negatively charged bisulfate dimer might advance the search for chemical solutions to several environmental challenges. Due to their ion-extraction properties, the molecules could potentially be used to extract harmful phosphate ions from the environment. “The eutrophication of lakes is just one example of the serious threat to the environment caused by the runoff of phosphates from fertilizers,” Flood said, referring to uncontrolled plant growth that results from excess phosphate nutrients running into lakes and ocean. When these chemicals get into the water supply as runoff from manure – produced by dairy farms and used to increase crop yields – they can trigger massive algae blooms that poison water supplies and kill fish in large numbers. 6 MANURE MANAGER -November/December 2016
In The News
New app helps farmers make management decisions
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