Why Growers are Rethinking Fertilizing Strategies

As input costs continue to rise, growers are taking a new look at what and how they’re utilizing fertilizer and ag chemicals.

Few, if any, farmers were spared the sticker shock of rising costs of fuel, fertilizer and ag chemicals in the past 16 months. But the reality is these costs have been steadily increasing for a decade or more as shown in Fig. 1.


The need to improve crop yields and control production costs is resulting in the development of advanced fertilizer application methods and materials as well as other new technologies. How these can be used in your specific farming operation and in particular locations requires on-farm test plot work. The results can lead to productivity gains and the potential to control overall input costs.

With 50 years of experience working in the retail fertilizer and ag chemical business, and personal experience using many of these techniques and materials in my 2,500 acre operation in western Illinois, and eastern Iowa and Missouri, it’s understood that what works for me may not work for you. For this reason, when it comes to effective fertilizing materials and techniques, it’s impossible to offer absolutes for every farming operation, but a review of some of the newer technologies and materials available today can provide innovative ideas and suggestions that growers will find helpful in rethinking their fertilizing strategies.

During the past 50 years, we’ve done in-depth research with herbicides, pesticides and a variety of fertility techniques. We’ve worked with a variety of plots, hybrids and equipment. Much of it was done on was my father’s 80-acre farm.

Since the late 1990s, much of my…

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