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Luke Gatiboni

Asst Professor

Williams Hall 3403D


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Date: 10/01/21 - 9/30/26
Amount: $9,999,146.00
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation (NSF)

The Science and Technologies for Phosphorus Sustainability (STEPS) Center is a convergence research hub for addressing the fundamental challenges associated with phosphorus sustainability. The vision of STEPS is to develop new scientific and technological solutions to regulating, recovering and reusing phosphorus that can readily be adopted by society through fundamental research conducted by a broad, highly interdisciplinary team. Key outcomes include new atomic-level knowledge of phosphorus interactions with engineered and natural materials, new understanding of phosphorus mobility at industrial, farm, and landscape scales, and prioritization of best management practices and strategies drawn from diverse stakeholder perspectives. Ultimately, STEPS will provide new scientific understanding, enabling new technologies, and transformative improvements in phosphorus sustainability.

Date: 02/08/22 - 1/20/25
Amount: $1,061,790.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS)

On-farm trials will be used to measure mitigation of nitrous oxide and ammonia emissions from nitrogen fertilization of corn with and without the use of a urease and nitrification inhibitor. Control plots receiving zero N will be used to examine inherent soil health in the system and supply power relative to corn yields.

Date: 04/01/20 - 4/01/24
Amount: $1,000,000.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS)

The objectives of this work align with the two distinct projects. The first objectives are to assemble and then develop peer-reviewed information about antagonistic effects of conservation practices on nutrient and sediment losses, with particular reference to different nutrient forms (e.g. particulate vs soluble P). Once assembled, this information will be vetted by land-grant faculty working in this area in order to develop an NRCS Tech Note. The second objective is to develop the Fertilizer Recommendation Support Tool(FRST) by designing and implementing the user interface, connecting the interface to a GIS system, as well as the soil test calibration and correlation data base that is already under development. Throughout the process testing will occur both internally to ensure the program works but also with end-users to ensure the tool is useful. We currently have 70 individuals throughout the US working on the FRST data base.

Date: 10/01/22 - 9/30/23
Amount: $2,000.00
Funding Agencies: NC Small Grain Growers Association, Inc.

While most North Carolina producers routinely submit soil samples for predictive or diagnostic purposes (without a user fee except during the peak season), relatively few producers utilize the diagnostic services available from fee-based laboratories such as the NCDA&CS Agronomic Division plant tissue lab, and at the NCSU Plant Disease & Insect Clinic. Our approach to strengthening crop problem diagnosis efforts is to request funding from each of several commodity groups to fund analysis of samples submitted by cooperative extension agents. This is not intended to cover all analytical needs, but for program support to allow agents to diagnose specific problems important to their region of the state. This project will support efforts by cooperative extension agents to diagnose specific crop nutritional or disease problems in small grains and will fund a limited number of samples to be submitted by cooperative extension agents for analysis at the NCDA&CS Agronomic Division plant tissue or nematode lab, and at the NCSU Plant Disease & Insect Clinic.

Date: 01/01/22 - 6/30/23
Amount: $8,151.00
Funding Agencies: National Peanut Board

Manures are applied to many fields in North Carolina, which can create issues for peanut growers looking for land with acceptably low zinc levels. Currently in 10 counties in the Coastal Plain, over 25% of soil samples submitted to NCDA&CS have Zinc-Index levels greater than 250, which is the current recommended threshold for toxicity in peanut. We would like to screen current commercially available peanut varieties to determine if any are more tolerant to high soil zinc concentrations and identify whether soil pH adjustment is a possible mitigation strategy when zinc concentrations create toxicity issues.

Date: 03/01/22 - 2/28/23
Amount: $10,854.00
Funding Agencies: NC Pork Council

Soil phosphorus (P) levels have increased over the past few decades in NC, with less than 10% of soil samples submitted from major swine production counties to NCDA&CS needing P (unpublished data from NCDA&CS). With sludge cleanouts becoming more frequent, the industry is looking for land to receive these materials and alternative strategies for transport out of the production region. Methods of sludge treatment that are of current interest are sludge drying and composting because removal of water is a necessity to increase sludge transport. New sludge drying efforts from the Animal and Poultry Waste Management Center show promise in providing a management option for NC swine producers, and this method creates an organic P product that could be easily shipped to other areas. However, it’s unknown how the drying process affects P availability and how this stacks up to other P fertilizer sources. Therefore, we propose a greenhouse study to further investigate this product in four potential receiving crops.

Date: 03/01/22 - 2/15/23
Amount: $48,847.00
Funding Agencies: NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services

Cigar wrapper (Nicotiana tabacum L.) is a novel tobacco type that has not been commercially produced in North Carolina. Due to steep declines in flue-cured and burley tobacco production in the state, farmers are searching for alternative tobaccos that might fill this new economic void. Cigar wrapper tobacco is intensively managed, but carries a market value that is roughly 1.5 to 3.5 times greater ($3.37 – 6.53/lb) than the current prices offered for flue-cured and burley tobacco ($1.87 and $2.00/lb, respectively). The infrastructure and general production knowledge required for this style of tobacco are present in North Carolina; therefore, it is presumed that success with cigar wrapper tobacco can be realized. Formal Extension recommendations focusing on fertilizer application rates and curing methodology are not available, however. Research is warranted to develop recommendations that may foster the success of cigar wrapper tobacco.

Date: 02/01/20 - 1/31/23
Amount: $24,309.00
Funding Agencies: Corn Growers Association of NC, Inc.

There is limited information available on the amount of nitrogen mineralized from previous manure applications in soils of North Carolina. To determine whether inorganic nitrogen applications to corn could be reduced in fields with a long history of manure application, a state-wide assessment will be conducted to determine the contribution of soil nitrogen to corn production in these situations. Extension Agents will identify farm fields for these nitrogen rate trials, which will be conducted in the Coastal Plain, Piedmont, and Tidewater regions of the state. The fields must have a history of manure application and a rotation that includes corn. Field strips will receive 30 lbs of starter N fertilizer per acre, and the strips will be split into five plots. Plots will receive varying rates of fertilizer (0, 50, 100, 150, and 200 lbs N/ac) at V4-V6 growth stage. Prior to sidedress N application, soil samples will be collected to determine the amount of inorganic nitrogen present in the soil. Grain yield will be measured, and the data collected will provide guidance on whether a pre-sidedress nitrate test could be utilized in manured soils in North Carolina, which could increase the efficiency of nitrogen use for North Carolina corn growers.

Date: 02/01/20 - 1/31/23
Amount: $63,096.00
Funding Agencies: NC Soybean Producers Association, Inc.

The use of best management practices and technology allow some fields in NC to yield 70 bu/A or more, defined as high-yielding soybeans. Although soil test phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) levels have been recently confirmed as sufficient, it is unclear if these levels are sufficient for high-yielding soybeans. Recalibration of soil test P and K for high-yielding soybeans is the objective of this research, which will occur at four farmer field sites that routinely harvest > 70 bu/ac soybeans. We will measure the plant tissue-P and -K, and yield during two cropping years. The results will be compared with those coming from three long-term P&K experiments conducted in different regions of North Carolina, in which the yield expectations are close to the average for the state. We request that the NC Soybean Growers will support the costs of a part-time undergraduate student, field supplies, travel costs, and, soil and plant analysis. Results from this project will be used to help determine the necessity of modifications in P and K recommendations for high-yielding soybeans in North Carolina.

Date: 02/01/21 - 1/31/23
Amount: $33,198.00
Funding Agencies: NC Soybean Producers Association, Inc.

The use of best management practices allow some soybean fields in NC to yield 70 bu/A or more, double the historical statewide average yield of 35 bu/A. Due to intensive management, usually these fields present adequate levels of soil nutrients and subsequently, the official recommendations of fertilizers for NC soils point to small or null rates of fertilizers, regardless of yield expectations. In an ongoing project sponsored by the NC Soybean Producers Association, we are refining the recommendations of P and K for high-yielding soybeans. In this proposal, we aim to field test supplemental fertilization strategies, at planting (starter N, S, and P) and during reproductive stages (N and micronutrients). The supplemental fertilization strategies will be compared with the standard fertilization program recommended by NCDA&CS using an economic analysis. We will perform this research in eight site-years, four sites in 2021 and four sites in 2022. We will measure yield, soil nutrient levels, nutrient uptake, and nutrient exported in the grain. We are requesting financial support to partially fund salaries (technician and hourly labor), field supplies, travel costs, and, soil and plant analysis associated with the project.

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