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Agronomy Talk


Developing Your Fertilizer Recommendation

Published on Wednesday, October 19, 2016

While fertilizer is a key input, many farmers are faced with low grain prices and margins. Though many crop advisors belabor the merits of different soil testing approaches, rarely do they consider accurate fertilizer recommendations that fit specific production and economic scenarios.

There are two main objectives with soil testing and fertilizer and lime applications. The first is to provide adequate crop nutrition. The second is to eliminate soil pH and nutrient availability as limiting factors. While there are a number of ways you can approach this, the economic environment and land tenure should be considered when developing your strategy. Agronomically sound fertilizer recommendations may not always be profitable when considering grain, fertilizer and lime prices. The probability of a yield response to the fertilizer or lime application source, timing, rate and placement also need to be evaluated.

On land that is owned, farmers are more likely to implement strategies involving soil fertility and capital improvement in a lower margin climate because return on investment over time can be expected. On rented land, however, the tenure of the relationship may drive recommendations from soil capital improvement, to fertility maintenance, to crop sufficiency approaches. Please contact myself or your local seed advisor to discuss soil testing and nutrient recommendation strategies for your farm.

Author: David Hughes