From the Farm: Fertilizer needs

The Morning Show

ILLINOIS (WCIA) — As farmers try to get as big yields as possible, calculating fertilizer needs is important.

Yields have been going up, but soybean yields could go up faster with some changes in fertility practices, says Christie Preston, Senior agronomist for Nutrien.

“In my mind, step number one is taking a traditional soil test, that way you have at least a snapshot idea of what’s in the soil at that point,” says Preston. “After that. Focusing on removal rates and doing something as simple as using a calculator that we have on our website will help at least estimate those nutrients that are being removed and a farmer should at least replenishing what is being removed. 

“So there is some value in building up soil test levels, and that is why step number one for me is taking a soil test level to ensure we are not leaving yield in the field and the farmer is maximizing his production.”

WCIA asks, are farmers fertilizing corn, hoping some will be left for soybeans a year later?

“Yes,” Preston says. “That is actually a great point. But a lot of farmers aren’t just trying to apply it once every two years.  where we come into issues is if say the corn yield is higher than expected, and so is that limiting that next soybean crop and a lot of times that correct answer is yes, it is limiting it.

“Being aware of those removal rates and actually being aware of uptake rates for that subsequent soybean crop is key also. And to see higher yields the plants are going to potentially going to need more nutrient to build up and get those higher yields.”

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