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When it comes to yearly farm expenses, fertilizer is always one of the big-ticket items — sometimes the largest. But after seeing a slight cutback on fertilizer expenses in 2014, No-Till Farmer readers stayed under their estimated budget of $80,235, spending an average of $75,555 for fertilizer per farm in 2015.
That amount is almost $10,000 less than the $85,513 spent in 2014. The reduction also brought fertilizer spending on a per-acre level down about $7 from $73.28 in 2014 to $65.93 in 2015.
Results from the 8th annual No-Till Operational Benchmark Survey indicate no-tillers plan to cut back even more on fertilizer in 2016 by another $6,617 per farm, for an average fertilizer budget of $68,938 ($60.15 per acre).
The planned fertilizer savings will likely come from nitrogen (N), as readers intend to use less per bushel of corn this year than in previous years.
In 2015, 46% planned to use 0.8-0.99 pounds N per bushel for their targeted corn yields, followed by 39% using 1.0-1.2 pounds N per bushel. This year, only 32% of no-tillers will apply N in the range of 1.0-1.2 pounds per bushel, while half will aim between 0.8-0.99 pounds N per bushel. (See Figure 1.)
The percent of no-tillers applying less than 0.8 pounds N per bushel increased by 3 points, to 15% for 2016. Just like 2015, only 3% plan to use more than 1.2 pounds N per bushel.
Liquid 28% is the top N source for the 2016…