It might be the best of all the possible problems a farmer can face.
Growers around the region who were fortunate enough to meet, or even exceed aggressive yield goals this season should make sure they’ve set some time aside to revisit their soil fertility plans after they’re done celebrating a successful 2015.
With Nebraska and Iowa pulling average yields of more than 185 bushels per acre this past year, it’s important to remember that more than just grain was removed at harvest. More yield equals more nutrients removed from that field.
That’s why it’s advisable to sit down and do a little math this time of year. By digging out your most recent soil test results and calculating nutrients removed and applied since that test, you can gain a good understanding of the potential nutrient supplying capacity of that field going into 2016. That understanding can play a pivotal role in making sure you put your seed in the best possible environment to succeed.
Research from Dr. Fred Below, professor of crop science at the University of Illinois, has shown how much fertilizer is taken up each day by high-yielding crops. For soybeans averaging 62 bushels per acre, nearly 17 pounds of fertilizer are removed from each acre every day during peak growth times. Meanwhile, corn yielding an average of 220 bushels per acre is removing nearly twice that amount, or more than 32 pounds of fertilizer per acre every day.
There are several tools available to help calculate nutrient removal, including the IPNI’s Nutrient Removal Calculator. Of course, it’s also a good idea to discuss with your retail partner who can address the potential need for an updated soil test or help create a fertilizer prescription that addresses the replenishment of key nutrients from the soil, based on what you will ask from it this coming season.
If you have any questions, please a member of your Hoegemeyer agronomy team or your local Hoegemeyer district sales manager.