After having made considerable cuts to their fertilizer spending in 2016, No-Till Farmer readers fought hard to hold on to those dollars in a bid to stay profitable in 2017. They did well, for the most part.
The 497 readers who participated in our 10th annual No-Till Operational Benchmark Study spent an average of $57,536 on fertilizer last year, which was just $2,117 more than the $55,419 spent, on average, per farm in 2016.
While no-tillers spent $50.16 per acre on fertilizer last year vs. $48.07 in 2016, a modest increase of 4.3%, it was more than last year’s survey respondents expected to spend. After cutting fertilizer costs by 26.7% last year, no-tillers surveyed last year thought they might be able to take another 7.6% off the fertilizer bill. Those cuts did not materialize.
This year’s survey respondents are expecting modest increases in fertilizer expenses for 2018. They anticipate spending $59,605, or $51.97 per acre, an increase of 3.6%.
No-Till Farmer readers will continue to nibble away at applied nitrogen (N) rates. Just 4 years ago, 12% of no-tillers were applying less than 0.8 pounds of N toward their targeted corn yields. For 2018, 19.7% of No-Till Farmer readers say they will apply below that level.
With 49.2% of no-tillers applying in the 0.8-0.99 range, that means 68.9% of No-Till Farmer readers, or better than two-thirds, are applying less than 1 pound of N per targeted corn yield.
No-tillers will be more diverse with N applications…