WASHINGTON, D.C. — Researchers at Purdue and Iowa State were among the four projects awarded more than $2 million in grants by the 4R Research Fund.

The fund, supported by the fertilizer industry and other stakeholders, is a science-based research initiative to improve agricultural sustainability by expanding knowledge of 4R Nutrient Stewardship, the use of the right fertilizer source, at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place.

“This effort helps support research needed to ensure the long-term viability of agriculture in North America,” said Chris Jahn, president of The Fertilizer Institute. “A sustainable agricultural sector is a vital part of a strong economy.”

* Tony Vyn at Purdue University was awarded a grant to evaluate how late-vegetative and late-season nitrogen applications impact modern corn hybrids and the physiological reasons for the differences.

* Matthew Helmers and John Sawyer of Iowa State University were awarded funds to assess the production and environmental impacts of multiple nitrogen management practices on drained landscapes, including fall ammonia with a nitrification inhibitor, spring ammonia and a split application with a season-specific side-dress rate

* Kevin King, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service was awarded funds for a project in partnership with Heidelberg University, LimnoTech, Ohio State University, The Nature Conservancy and the International Plant Nutrition Institute to evaluate the impacts of adopting practices associated with 4R Nutrient Stewardship and the impact of the Western Lake Erie Basin 4R Certification program on crop productivity and profitability, water quality and perceptions of growers, nutrient service providers and residents.

* Nathan Nelson was awarded funds to lead efforts at Kansas State University on research to assess interactions between cover crops and phosphorus fertilizer management and their impact on phosphorus loss, phosphorus use efficiency, crop yield and net return. The effort also will assess how these interactions impact nitrogen loss and nitrogen use efficiency.

The fund supports U.S. and Canadian projects in partnership with land-grant universities, watershed stakeholders and government agencies, as well as industry initiatives. Last year, the North American fertilizer industry pledged $7 million to fund this multi-year research effort.