Assessing the suitability of different livestock manures in an organic sweet corn production system in Western Colorado and identifying barriers to adoption

College of Agricultural Sciences

Department of Soil and Crop sciences



(Delta, Montrose, Ouray)

Primary Topic:

Food and Agriculture

Other Topics:

Economic and Community Development, Food and Agriculture, Health and Well-Being, Natural Resources and Sustainability, Youth and Family Development

Lead Mentor:  

srinivasa rao pinnamneni

Irrigated Cropping Systems Specialist

Internship Overview:

The intern will primarily address two areas with support of mentors: 1. Identify barriers in organic sweet corn production systems in Western Colorado by designing appropriate survey methodology, and 2. Collecting the data on an experiment comparing the suitability of cow manure, sheep manure, goat manure, poultry manure and economics of sweet corn cultivation.

Goals, Scope and Objectives:

for producing some of the best sweet corn in the United States. Our unique growing climate and soil types combined with innovative farming practices ensure consistent quality and superior taste. State growers produce more than 133 million pounds annually. It is one of the highest value crops grown in Delta, Montrose and Ouray counties of Western Colorado. A typical sweet corn crop will use about 250 pounds of total nitrogen (N) per acre during the season. A major concern with nitrogen fertilizer is that most inorganic forms of nitrogenous fertilizers are converted rapidly to nitrate by microorganisms in the soil. Another concern for the growers is the high cost of nitrogen fertilizers. In additional, nitrate is prone to leaching in the soil. Leaching not only renders the nutrient unavailable to the crop, but can also be a source of groundwater contamination. Hence, we propose to use the locally available surplus manures from livestock such as cow, sheep, goat and poultry litter and assess nitrate leaching in manure treated plots compared to inorganic N application (urea control). Having local sweet corn growers involved in the evaluation and adoption processes is crucial to the success of this technology. The intern will conduct a survey with the growers in Delta, Montrose and Ouray counties to identify barriers to adoption and will be involved in conducting the trial of organic sweet corn production in comparison with the conventional inorganic fertilizer (urea) application

With which stakeholder group(s) will the intern work?

CSU Extension, CSU AES, the Colorado STAR farmers, local growers & the Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (CFVGA).

What student learning outcomes do you anticipate and what are the opportunities for professional development?

Developing the survey methodology, primary and secondary data collection methods, communication skills and science based logical thinking.
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