Practices to reduce fertilizer costs
Corn farmers are figuring out how to pay for the high cost of fertilizers and understand what’s ahead down the road. A lot of factors come into nitrogen management. Decreasing your investment on fertilizer may not be an option, but how do you keep that investment where it’s intended? The practices you put in place can help now and down the road.
Shawn Hock is the U.S corn herbicide product lead for Syngenta. He says one way is to focus on early season weed control and increasing residual rate, so weeds don’t compete for light, water, nutrients, and space.
"Nutrients is the key one here. We recently did some studies with the universities and internal trials. I crunched the numbers and the economic impact from letting 2”-4” weeds grow before you manage them is $24/acre at current prices," says Hock. "So, just applying maybe a little bit earlier or even increasing your rate of your current herbicide a little bit more to control more of your weeds, can have a real economic benefit this year."
Do a soil test if it’s been a few years since you’ve done one.
"I really think understanding what’s in your soil, making sure that you’re counting what you got from the soybean crop if that’s what you had the year before," he says. "Again, keeping the fields clean, planting early, those are all things that you can do that are in control. Even disease management and plant performance, fungicides, have been shown to help increase nitrogen use efficiency."