Why is this research important for Alberta ag?
Humalite is a naturally occurring humic substance containing organic matter, high concentrations of humic acid, and low heavy metals due to its unique fresh water depositional environment. One of the main challenges current agricultural practices are facing is low nutrient use efficiency by crops due to the loss of nutrients by leaching, denitrification and volatilization. Previous research has shown that inorganic fertilizer treated with humic acid can significantly improve the soil nutrient availability and fertilizer use efficiency, nutrient update, root growth, shoot growth, nutritional quality and yield.
In the last couple of years, local farmers have bought and applied humalite in their fields, but there is limited scientific data available, which has left both agronomists and farmers with several unanswered questions regarding application rate, fertilizer to humalite ratio, short and long-term effects on soil health, etc.
What benefits can producers expect from this research?
Humalite currently mined in Alberta is typically shipped elsewhere for processing. Validation of the product with limited local processing as a soil amendment would help meet local and provincial demands for cost effective practices of managing challenging soils. This research focuses on the effects between humalite applied at multiple application rates and its interaction with N fertilizer on wheat and canola production and quality.
It is expected that humalite will benefit farmers by increasing yields, improving nitrogen use efficiency, improving soil structure, and increasing carbon sequestration by increasing soil microbial populations. Other anticipated benefits include reduced fertilizer use and lower input costs.
How will these research findings reach producers on-farm?
Results from this project will be showcased on websites and bulletins. Demonstrations will occur during field days, seminars, and field trials. Interviews will be conducted on local radio, and articles will be published in scientific journals.
Funded in part by the Government of Canada under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.