Bastos and Crowther recipients of International Plant Nutrition Institute Scholar Award

Thursday, December 7, 2017
Leonardo Bastos and Joel Crowther
Leonardo Bastos (left), and Joel Crowther were selected as International Plant Nutrition Institute Scholar Award recipients.

Leonardo Bastos and Joel Crowther were selected as International Plant Nutrition Institute Scholar Award recipients for 2017 at the North Central Extension-Industry Soil Fertility Conference in Des Moines, Iowa, Nov. 15. The conference facilitates the sharing of new soil fertility and nutrient management research information and fertilizer industry developments.

Bastos is an agronomy doctoral student working in agronomy, soil fertility and precision agriculture. Crowther is completing his Master’s of Agronomy.

IPNI selects outstanding graduate students in the field of plant nutrition for receipt of these awards. According to Terry L. Roberts, IPNI president, the selection committee was challenged by a record response of applicants in 2017 who demonstrated an impressive body of work and are already contributing greatly to the field of plant nutrition.

“In 2017, 37 were awarded globally; five were in the United States, and two of the five were University of Nebraska–Lincoln students. It is quite unusual for two students to be selected from an institution, which attests to the quality of work done by Leo and Joel,” said Richard Ferguson, professor and interim department head of agronomy and horticulture.

Bastos’ dissertation title is “Integrating Fertilizer Field Strategies, Crop Canopy Sensors and Crop Models for Nitrogen Management in Irrigated Corn Systems.” His research will provide a framework to understand how different crop canopy sensors recommend variable-rate nitrogen and whether or not these sensors can be used interchangeably for nitrogen management in irrigated corn. He is advised by Richard Ferguson.

Bastos’ future goals are to become a forefront researcher in nitrogen management in either an industry or academia position.

Crowther’s thesis is titled “Integrating Management Zones and Canopy Sensing to Improve Nitrogen Recommendation Algorithms.” The main goal of his research is to explore the feasibility of this integrated approach of combining management zones and sensor-based approaches for nitrogen use efficiency. His future plans are to seek opportunities as a research agronomist focusing in precision agriculture and soil fertility. Crowther is advised by Tim Shaver and Joe Luck.

The IPNI Scholar Awards are open to applicants who are graduate students attending a degree-granting institution located in any country with an IPNI program. The award is available to graduate students in science programs relevant to plant nutrition science and the management of crop nutrients including agronomy, horticulture, ecology, soil fertility, soil chemistry, crop physiology and environmental science.

Regional committees of IPNI scientific staff select the recipients. Funding for the scholar award program is provided through support of IPNI member companies, primary producers of nitrogen, phosphate, potash, and other fertilizers.

More information on IPNI Scholar Awards can be found at

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