Weighing N cutback on corn
Higher fertilizer prices can make for difficult decisions for farmers. Ray Massey, ag economist and MU Extension professor, says there’s an optimal place where growers optimize profit.
“If the price of corn is high, which it is, you can afford high nitrogen prices. So, for the most part, my analysis says you’re still going to make money even with high fertilizer prices.”
But, he says farmers might want to decrease fertilizer 10 to 20 pounds per acre because the increased yield doesn’t pay for the increased cost of nitrogen, “I don’t think you’re going to see too much switch FROM corn but you may see a lower application rate TO corn which could mean that we have a few less bushels into the future.”
Whether or not farmers come back to a larger amount of fertilizer depends on the price of nitrogen in the spring. Massey says he empathizes with farmers and reminds them the 4Rs of nutrient management are not only good for production but for their pocketbooks.
Massey was a presenter at the 2021 MU Crop Management Conference in Columbia, Missouri.