Money-Saving Tip: Know Your Exact Fertilizer Needs

March 5, 2014 11:00 PM
Money-Saving Tip: Know Your Exact Fertilizer Needs

Editor's note: We’ve gathered several experts to offer suggestions on trimming expenses in light of tighter margins in 2014. This is one of 10 money-saving tips.

If you’ve been banking phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) levels, now is the time to make a withdrawal and reduce P and K rates, says Nate Franzen, president, agribusiness division, First Dakota National Bank, Yankton, S.D. "People have been pouring it on to the max in past years," he notes.

Before you go to the other extreme, Mike Boehlje, ag economist at Purdue University adds, keep in mind that cutting too deep on crucial inputs can actually drive costs higher. "I’m not saying to cut back and cause a productivity reduction, nor cut back on total nitrogen that has to be replenished each year," he notes.

Nitrogen is another input that farmers can examine closely, particularly in light of variable-rate application opportunities. Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie has explained how nitrogen rate, plant population and other factors are interconnected. 

In addition to spring fertilizer, VRT can also be beneficial in the fall when it is paired with proper soil sampling by zones, notes George Rehm, soil scientist, University of Minnesota Extension.

Thankfully, the outlook calls for substantially lower prices on all nutrient inputs this spring.


Keep Your Production Costs in Check for 2014

With grain prices dropping, it’s time to get creative. There is no one-size-fits-all-farmers answer, but there are numerous ways to more closely align costs with returns. Here are the money-saving tips we've gathered.


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