Welcome to the new UF/IFAS blog dedicated to plant nutrient management in Florida! This blog will highlight UF/IFAS nutrient management research and extension activities. In addition, it will describe evidence-based solutions for efficiently managing soil fertility and fertilizers across a variety of crops.
Nutrient management in Florida is undergoing a renaissance thanks to support from producers, their organizations, and legislative representatives. In the last three Florida legislative sessions, lawmakers allocated, and the governor approved, a total of $16.5 million to examine the appropriate rate for applying fertilizer to a variety of vegetable and agronomic crops for normal and economical crop production. The goal of our nutrient management program is to develop recommendations on best management practices (BMPs) for supplying fertilizer to achieve maximum yield and quality goals of the grower while doing so in a manner that minimizes nutrient inefficiencies to the environment.
Funding supports 14 projects started in 2023 plus 5 new projects starting in 2024. The crops we are studying include corn, cotton, citrus, potato, watermelon, snap beans, tomato, peaches, limpograss, hemp, sod production, blueberry, bahiagrass, and lettuce. Investigators are also studying soil testing and site-specific recommendations with an AI component. Our research is focusing on how to manage nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) to achieve high crop yields and quality while minimizing environmental effects. We are going beyond simply evaluating fertilizer rates by taking a more comprehensive approach. This is called the “4Rs concept of nutrient management” (right rate, right source, right placement, right timing). Because water management is a key part of nutrient management in Florida, we added a 5th R, right water management.
We are doing most of our research in partnership with grower-cooperators on their fields, but some studies are at UF/IFAS facilities. Investigators are emphasizing crop yield and quality responses while considering the economics of fertilizer use. Projects also include aspects that will help us understand the environmental fate of applied N and/or P. Investigators share project updates with producers, agencies, grower organizations, and other interested parties through extension programs.
To learn more about our statewide nutrient management project, visit our nutrient management website at bmp.ifas.ufl.edu.