There’s no other way to say it - fertilizer prices are high, some research says as much as 50% higher than last year. Whatever the reason - supply chain issues, sanctions and restrictions or extreme weather - many farmers are having to find ways to cut back on their anticipated fertilizer application plan, while still producing the yields necessary to make a profit.
It’s tough. A study out of Missouri showed that 57 percent of grain yield could be attributed to the fertilizer and lime additions that were applied. So what can you do to squeeze every bushel out of the fertilizer you apply?
5 Ways You Can Reduce Your Fertilizer Costs Without Sacrificing Yield
1. Utilize the Nutrients Already in Your Soil
A significant amount of the NPK in the soil is either tied up in the soil or sitting in a form that is unavailable to the plant. The key to taking advantage of those nutrients is microbial activity. Soil microbes, key indicators of overall soil health, produce enzymes that break down organic matter and help make the tied-up nutrients more available to the plant. An increase in microbial activity means an increase in plant available NPK.
2. Wake Up Microbes
The problem is, up to 80% of soil microbes are dormant. When environmental conditions are less than ideal, they take a break. Moisture, aeration, temperature, and soil pH can all lead microbes to stop growing. If microbes aren’t growing, then they aren’t releasing those tied-up nutrients, which means plants aren’t utilizing all of your fertilizer budgets.
Microbes need a catalyst to give them a jumpstart.
3. Turbocharge Microbial Activity
Microbes need to wake up, get growing and then, they need to get working. Microbial activity can be measured by the amount of CO2 being respirated in the soil. The more work the microbes do, the more CO2 that microbes release.
4. Invigorate the Rootzone
Placing fertilizer as close to the root zone as possible makes it easier to uptake and less likely to be lost or tied up in the soil. The same goes for microbes - the more microbial activity you have in the root zone, the more effective your fertilizer applications will be.
5. Focus on Chemistry
Improving the enzymatic activity of microbes is important, but adding a cofactor that can further release tied-up nutrients is a great idea. Utilizing microbially available chemistry is key to allowing microbes to create fully functioning enzymes that break down tied-up nutrients.
Want to hear it straight from the pros? Check out our 5 Tips to Cut Fertilizer - Not Yield webinar below hosted by Microbiologist Rachel Raths.
See the Difference
Agnition created a patented Microbial Catalyst® technology that works by increasing enzymatic activity, which helps break down the main component of plant matter. Research shows that Microbial Catalyst has a superior response to nutrient breakdown even compared to other similar organic compounds. Microbial Catalyst was able to increase the number of nutrients in a corn tissue test compared to competitors.
Generate® is a product that uses patented Microbial Catalyst technology to stimulate existing microbes in the soil by unlocking enzymes that drive more efficient nutrient utilization. Microbes release nutrients through enzymatic activity and release organic acids that change the pH of the soil near the seed to make nutrients more available to the plant.