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Adam Chappell Mulches Out of P and K

2022 Responsible Nutrient Management Practitioners Award recipient is slashing synthetic inputs with no-till, cover crops and lots of added carbon.

Adam Chappell remembers when he decided to remove two elements from his farm’s periodic table.

Until 2015, the fourth-generation Arkansas no-tiller and 2022 Responsible Nutrient Management Practitioners Award recipient had been purchasing the usual rates of phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) on his family land outside of Cotton Plant, Ark., where he farms with his brother, Seth. The annual program is sponsored by AgroLiquid and No-Till Farmer.

“We were spending all this money on fertilizer, P and K specifically,” he said. “We’d check our levels and they’d be optimal. And then we’d get this recommendation to put out P and K as a removal rate. We started not doing it on some acres, and then we would take samples again and there wouldn’t be any difference between where we put the removal rate fertilizer and no fertilizer.”

It didn’t take long for Chappell to question whether replacing the removal rate was necessary.

“We didn’t see any significant difference where we’d been spending the money and where we hadn’t,” he says.

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Check The Specs...

NAME: Adam Chappell

LOCATION: Cotton Plant, Ark.

ACRES: 7,400

YEARS NO-TILLING: 10

CROPS: Soybeans, rice, corn, cotton

ANNUAL PRECIPITATION: 49 inches

IRRIGATION: Yes

LIVESTOCK: No

He drastically reduced the amount of P and K applied to his acres in 2015. He followed up by cutting it out altogether in 2016, and hasn’t applied a drop since, other than small amounts that come with his starter fertilizer at planting.

He still struggles to explain exactly how it happens…

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Brian o connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor started at Lessiter Media as the Lead Content Editor for Conservation Agriculture in November 2021. He previously worked in daily print journalism for more than a decade in places as far flung as Alaska and the U.S. Virgin Islands, where he shared a national award for coverage of two Category 5 hurricanes that struck the islands in 2017. He's also taught English in Korea, delivered packages for Amazon, and coordinated Wisconsin election night coverage for the Associated Press. His first job was on a Southeast Wisconsin farm.

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