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Finding the Balancing Point for Fertility

The combination of record or near-record crop yields and low commodity prices is generating a lot of number crunching and questions when it comes to fertility program planning. With 250-280-bushel corn yields not uncommon, incredible amounts of nutrients are being pulled out of the soil. With commodity prices moving in the wrong direction, customers are looking for places to cut costs for 2015. Should fertility be one of those places?

It’s true that it can be tough to make the numbers work right now. However, the reality is that you need bushels more than ever when commodity prices are low. In this area, the top yields consistently come from the fields with the best fertility program in place. Cut back on nutrients too much and yields will suffer.

How do you find the balance? The first essential is to know exactly where your P and K levels are, and soil testing is the key to nailing that down. Once you know where you are, we can sit down with you and figure out a basic plan of nutrient removal.

If we determine that you need to cut back to an extent, then we’ll want to look at slowing the rate of soil building rather than choosing to draw down nutrient levels. It’s much more difficult to build soils up than it is to maintain them.

If you haven’t soil tested recently, let’s get that done as soon as the crops come out this fall. Then, let’s have a conversation about your yield goals and put together a program that makes sense for you.

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