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Smart Agronomic Moves Required for Profitable 2019

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In his coffee shop chat ‘n chew with corn growers last week at the Indy farm expo, Purdue Extension corn specialist Bob Nielsen encouraged producers to dig deep for smart agronomic choices in 2019. That’s what is required to be profitable in the face of rising input costs, so Nielsen recommends smart agronomic decisions both for efficiency and economics. Sometimes that might mean less inputs.

“Some of the research that my colleague and I have done looking at seeding rates, looking at nitrogen rates, what we’re doing with that research is taking it to the dollar and cents,” he told HAT. “So, when we come out with guidelines, we’re offering economically optimum rates for recommendations, because certainly in both of those inputs the economic rate is often dramatically less than you would think, and that’s because that yield response curve is so flat it takes so much of those inputs to squeeze that last bushel out. You just can’t afford to do it.”

Their guidelines are always available online in the Chat ‘n Chew Café. Also at the café is an update from Nielsen and Jim Camberato on the Sulfur Fertilizer Response of Corn from their sulfur deficiency research. The smart decision might be to go with a sulfur fertilizer application, or to avoid it.

“We have seen some tremendous yield results in corn to sulfur, but we’ve also seen about half the time, no response to sulfur. So, in terms of smart agronomics, let’s just make sure for something like sulfur that you know for certain that you have a deficient situation before you go spending that $5, $7, $8 an acre on sulfur fertilizer, because you might not need it for your particular situation.”

Nielsen’s bottom line for a better bottom line is look at every agronomic decision you make and be sure you’re addressing problems that you actually have.