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Row Crops

Alabama Corn Production

Dr. Brenda Ortiz Dr. Brenda Ortiz

Assistant Professor & Extension Specialist 

Auburn University College of Agriculture
Department of Crop, Soil & Environmental Sciences
204 Extension Hall
Auburn University, AL 36849
Office: 334.844.5534
Fax: 334.844.4586
bortiz@auburn.edu

  Extension & Research Projects

Development of Real-Time Variable-Rate Nitrogen Applications. Phase I: Corn algorithm for Alabama. Project conducted at: Tennessee Valley REC, E. V. Smith REC, and Gulf Coast REC

Description and accomplishments: Variable rate application (VRA) of nitrogen has been proved as a method to improve nitrogen stewardship. While this strategy has been proved and implemented by farmers in the Midwest, research is necessary to adapt Midwest existing research protocols to the Southeast. Preliminary data collected (2009-2011) in Alabama from four research tests have shown promising results. In the next two years, data from the study will be used to develop an algorithm for VRA of nitrogen in Corn for Alabama conditions. Farmers will be able to change rate of nitrogen on-the-go and adjust the rates based on the weather conditions prior to the application and the forecasted post-application weather conditions.


Impact of Climate Variability on Wheat Growth and Yield. Project conducted at: Tennessee Valley REC, E. V. Smith REC

Description and accomplishments: Mitigating climate risks in agriculture could be possible if the relations between climatic conditions and crop growth and yield are established. The U.S. Southeast climate, especially from fall through spring months, is highly influenced by the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). This research study has allowed us to identify the relationship between ENSO and Wheat production in Alabama. Data collected for two years study at three different research stations is allowing us to identify how planting date and the variety should be changed according to the El Niño or La Niña conditions (ENSO Phases) for various locations in Alabama.  Preliminary results from this project have been presented at regional and state meetings. Data from this project will be also to conduct regional research projects related to climate change. Awarenesses of mitigation strategies according to seasonal climatic conditions have been raised between scientists and farmers in the Southeast. A minimum of four publications are expected from this project.


Developing a Risk Index for Aflatoxin contamination in corn. Field study conducted at the Gulf Coast  REC.

Description and accomplishments: This project attempts to identify aflatoxin risk factors which can be combined into a single Risk Index. Once risky management scenarios and climate/weather conditions have been identified, growers can modify management practices to minimize their risk level. This approach should reduce aflatoxin incidence, improve grower profits, and reduce the likelihood of animal or human consumption of contaminated corn. On-going studies have allow us the identification of the weather conditions associated with contamination, the time during the growing season when those weather conditions will increase risk, and some management practices associated with the risk.


Corn Nitrogen Fertilization. Project conducted at: Tennessee Valley REC and E. V. Smith REC.

Description and accomplishments: The project is focused on the identification of strategies to increase nitrogen use efficiency in corn. Three years of data are being analyzed to identify rates, split applications, impact of weather and climate on nitrogen recommendations. Results from this study will improve nitrogen stewardship and farmer’s profit. Preliminary results from this project have been presented at state meetings. Two publications (journal articles) and one extension publications are expected from this study.

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