The rapid rise in the cost of seed and fertilizer in the past year served as a wake-up call for no-tillers, reminding them that controlling input costs is often the difference between being profitable or not.
For grain farmers, this means getting the most from their planting and fertilizing efforts.
It was apparent at the 2009 Farm Progress Show that equipment manufacturers also got the message. Held in Decatur, Ill., the 2009 show of the newest and most advanced equipment highlighted planting and fertilizer placement technologies.
While fertilizer prices have fallen significantly from where they were 12 months ago, no-tillers are still anticipating future increases. As a result, they’re scrutinizing their options and looking to place fertilizer within and/or alongside the row at planting. These placement options will minimize nutrient expenses and reduce overall operating costs, while maintaining yield.
Encouraged by announced increases in seed prices, many no-tillers are looking to upgrade planting or seeding equipment. Early pricing for 2010 suggested that a bag of SmartStax corn might reach or exceed $330 per bag.
And with increased nitrogen utilization and drought-tolerant genes coming soon, this is expected to push seed corn above $400 per bag.
Soybean seed is also expected to rise, with indications that treated seed is heading for $70 per unit.
With the drive toward increasing productivity per unit of labor and reducing field passes, the most advanced seeding equipment is engineered to let the planter place seed and deliver fertilizer simultaneously.