- Fruits: melons
- Vegetables: beans, beets, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, cucurbits, eggplant, garlic, greens (leafy), onions, peas (culinary), peppers, radishes (culinary), tomatoes, turnips
- Crop Production: nutrient cycling, organic fertilizers
- Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, focus group, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research, workshop
- Energy: energy conservation/efficiency, energy use, solar energy
- Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns, feasibility study, market study
- Production Systems: organic agriculture
- Soil Management: organic matter, nutrient mineralization, soil microbiology, soil quality/health
- Sustainable Communities: employment opportunities, sustainability measures
Agriculture is highly dependent on fertilizer made through energy-intensive industrial nitrogen (N) fixation. As energy prices increase, so does the price of fertilizer. Biological N fixation using cyanobacteria has the potential to supply N to crops while reducing input costs and increasing energy-efficiency. The goal of this project was to develop and test an on-farm biological N fixation system. The primary scientific components included development and optimization of cyanobacteria-based N fixation, on-farm testing through participatory research and economic analysis. A manual, newsletter article, presentations and social media were used to raise awareness and educate producers and professionals regarding this new technique.
Our objectives are to:
1) Evaluate cyanobacterial species and growth conditions necessary for biofertilizer production,
2) Evaluate the economic and social feasibility of on-farm or community-scale fertilizer production using a biological N-fixation system,
3) Optimize the harvesting, processing and application of cyanobacteria-fixed N through on-farm testing,
4) Inform the bioreactor design and utilization of biofertilizers through consultations with farmers, and
5) Develop educational materials providing information on the production and utilization of cyanobacteria-based N fertilizer and disseminate that information to farmers and agricultural professionals through a variety of means.