Agriculture could save up to $1.5 billion annually by improving nitrogen applications. That's according to USDA which has now launched its Energy Estimator for Nitrogen, a Web-based awareness tool that farmers and ranchers can use to identify potential nitrogen cost savings from crops and commercial nitrogen (N) fertilizer applications.

Fertilizer accounts for 29% of agriculture's energy use, according to USDA research. Proper management of N fertilizer, including using animal manure and cover crops, can save producers energy and money. Using manure instead of petroleum-based fertilizers, for example, could reduce costs up to $55/acre, based on February 2006 prices.

Additional information can be found at http://nfat.sc.egov.usda.gov/.