Tulane University has awarded the $1 million grand prize for the Tulane Nitrogen Reduction Challenge to Adapt-N, a team from Cornell University that developed a cloud-based computer modeling system to predict optimum nitrogen application rates for crops using data on weather, field conditions, and soil management practices. The Challenge is an international competition to find a significant, scalable solution to reduce nitrogen runoff from farming, a primary culprit behind vast algae blooms that cause massive annual "dead zones" in waters throughout the world. Adapt-N gives farmers precise nitrogen recommendations for every section of their fields. The tool relies on USDA soil databases, field-specific soil and management information and high-resolution weather data. Adapt-N team leader Harold van Es commented, "We can roughly reduce the environmental impact by about a third--35 to 40%--and that's both the impacts from nitrate leaching, which is the primary concern with the Gulf hypoxia issue, as well as greenhouse gas losses, which is also a big concern."