Nitrogen (N) use efficiency is a major issue for agriculture across the world.
We now have many molecular tools to address this important topic in new ways.
Grass and legume forage crops are harvested when the leaf canopy is fully established and the dried material is an important protein source for animal feed. The challenge for the growers of forage crops is to maintain the protein production with decreased fertiliser inputs to meet new legislation requirements.
Crop protein content depends on the plant receiving sufficient N until harvest. Leaf N is stored as vegetative storage protein a specialised type of cell vacuole. Excess N can also be stored as nitrate in the vacuole.
In forage crops these N storage forms are important for both N use efficiency and the final feed value of the dried product.
Research in the Miller lab investigates ways to optimise N fertiliser use and protein production in forage crops.