With a $1 million grand prize, Tulane University has named the team at Adapt-N as the winner of the Tulane Nitrogen Reduction.
The Adapt-N team started at Cornell University and developed a cloud-based computer modeling system to predict optimum nitrogen application rates. The program factors in USDA soil databases, field-specific soil and management information and high-resolution weather data. The system is designed to enable farmers to reduce the overall nitrogen rate while increasing profitability.
Tulane launched the grand challenge in 2014 as an international competition to identify and nurture the most innovative and adaptable technologies to fight hypoxia.
“We can roughly reduce the environmental impact by about a third — 35 to 40 percent — and that’s both the impacts from nitrate leaching, which is the primary concern with the Gulf hypoxia issue, as well as greenhouse gas losses, which is also a big concern,” says Adapt-N team leader Harold van Es.
A 16-member advisory board of academics, scientists, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, farmers and national experts selected the winner based on crop yield, nitrogen reduction and the cost and market viability of their innovation. Teams tested their innovations during a growing season on a farm in northeast Louisiana along the Mississippi River.
Three other finalists included, Cropsmith of Farmer City, Illinois; Pivot Bio of Berkeley, California and Stable'N of Carmi, Illinois.