No-Tillers Ready to Make Slight Cuts with Fertilizer

After increasing per-acre spends on fertilizer in 2014, no-tillers will try to trim expenditures mostly through cuts to soybean applications.

Figure 1. How Much Nitrogen Do You Plan to Apply vs. Your Targeted Corn Yield?

How Much Nitrogen

Year after year, fertilizer is the big gorilla in the room when it comes to farm expenditures. In 2014, the readers of No-Till Farmer spent an average of $85,513 per farm to feed their crops — far outpacing the average of $69,732 spent on average, per farm, for land rent.

While that ended up being nearly $9,000 less than the 2013 average of $94,322 per farm, no-tillers actually spent more on fertilizer in 2014 on a per-acre basis. At $73.28 per acre, No-Till Farmer readers spent nearly $9 more per acre in 2014 than the $64.34 per acre they spent in 2013.

Per-Acre Spend Increased

The higher per-acre spending is not a surprise, since no-tillers told us last year they were planning to increase their applied nitrogen (N) levels over 2013. But it looks like one year of cost increases is about all that no-tillers can stomach, as they told us in this year’s survey that they’re looking to reduce their fertilizer expenses to $80,235 per farm, or to $69.05 per acre.

It looks like most of those cuts could come from reductions to fertility applications in soybeans, with fewer no-tillers planning applications of N, phosphorus (P), potassium (K) and micronutrients in 2015.

However, no-tillers are not applying to back off on fertility to corn. That’s because survey respondents told us they actually are expecting to ever-so-slightly increase their N application rates to corn in…

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Bruggink-darrell

Darrell Bruggink

Executive Editor/Publisher

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