Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Adapt-N for Agriculture

Adapt-N is a precision nitrogen management tool that helps farmers determine how much nitrogen fertilizer to apply to corn crops. Farmers need tools like Adapt-N because excessive nitrogen applications cannot be detected by the naked eye. An under-fertilized corn crop will have brown leaves, but a crop that has been over-fertilized is indistinguishable from one that has received exactly the right amount of fertilizer. 

Fertilizer is expensive, as is the equipment required to apply it, so farmers who apply too much can waste money. There are many factors that influence proper nitrogen management including temperature, precipitation, and soil types. Tools like Adapt-N help prevent waste and unnecessary expense  by using soil information and local weather data to help determine how much nitrogen fertilizer needs to be applied.


Cornell University initially developed Adapt-N with support from the Northeast Regional Climate Center. The project was developed further and brought to market by the Agronomic Technology Corporation. In addition to soil-specific data, the product uses temperature and precipitation data from NCEI’s Global Historical Climatology Network Daily (GHCNd)

Robert Donald, Farmer and Adapt-N User

Robert Donald, Farmer and Adapt-N User

“I’m a corn and soybean farmer from south Cayuga County, New York. I raise about a thousand acres of corn and 400 acres of soybeans every year, depending on the rotations of the fields. The cost savings to us is the biggest benefit. The operation goes faster because you can go farther without having to refill the tank on the applicator, that’s another benefit... the biggest benefit is the cost benefit of using less nitrogen.”