Maximizing Fertilizer Application

Growing a profitable crop requires a lot inputs.  Fertilizer is an important input for growing a profitable crop.  When you apply a fertilizer, you want to make sure you are getting the most out of the that investment and your crops are using the fertilizer.  The following 4 factors will aid in getting the most out of your fertilizer application.

Knowing exactly what your soil needs will help identify what type of fertilizer is needed.  Conducting a soil test every 3-5 years unless manure has been applied then a soil test should be conducted more frequently.  Another factor to consider before identifying a type of fertilizer would be what nutrients do your crops need.  Understanding these two factors will help pin point the right fertilizer for your field.  Developing a fertilizer program by creating a fertilizer prescription recommendation will help maximize investment.

Timing is everything, especially when it comes to fertilizer application.  Ensuring the nutrients applied are available at the time the crop uptakes the nutrients.  Applying a winter or spring application of fertilizer comes and understanding of who the applied fertilizer could be lost.  Winter application has a higher chance of runoff or leaching.  Spring application you have an increase chance of the product being available for plant uptake and decreases the chance for runoff or leaching.
Placement of the fertilizer is very important.  Making sure the nutrients are in the correct place, so the plants can uptake the nutrients to start growing.  This is where the fertilizer prescription can help pin point productive or non-productive areas of the fields.  This allows a more accurate use of fertilizer to limit both profit and yield loss. 

Understanding how your fertilizer application performs throughout the season will help with in-season management. Taking tissue sampling is a great way to track what your crops are taking up throughout the grower season. Allowing you to make in-season management decisions.  Evaluation of the correlation between as applied maps and yield analysis will show if you had a positive return on investment.    

The Yield Quest program has the tools to help you achieve these four factors to get the most out of your fertilizer application.

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