Fertilizer and Yield by the Numbers


Fertilizer and Yield by the Numbers

Every farmer has an idea about how much fertilizer it takes to grow the crop they want, right? For years, many farmers have said that if you expect a bushel of corn you need a pound of nitrogen. Often 1.2-1.3 pounds is used as a recommendation.


For every bushel of corn you grow, a certain amount of NPK is needed. So the more bushels you made or plan to make, the more nutrients you’ll need. It also means that overestimating your yield potential can mean overestimating your fertilizer needs and wasting money.


How Much Does My Crop Need?

Nutrient removal rates can be an excellent tool for helping you determine the amount of nutrients you’ll need to replace what your previous crop removed. Nutrient removal is based on per bushel removal rates multiplied by actual yield.


Nutrient Removal Rates by Crop

Crop

N (lbs./bu)

P2O5 (lbs./bu)

K2O (lbs./bu)

Corn

0.9

0.37

0.27

Soybean

3.8

0.80

1.40

Wheat

1.2

0.63

0.37

Source: Michigan State University


So, using these numbers, a 200 bu. corn crop removes 180 lbs/N, 74 lbs/P2O5 and 54 lbs/K2O per acre. As legumes, soybeans can fix much of their nitrogen, which means even though their removal rate is higher, they probably won’t need their nitrogen application.


Fun Fact: Remember that it takes more than just NPK to make a crop. For example, a bushel of corn removes 0.08 lb. of sulfur in the grain and 0.09 lb. in the stalk—0.17 lb. total


But it isn’t a magic formula. It takes a certain amount of NPK to make a crop, but you also have to consider your yield environment, your soil testing results and an understanding of your soil’s actual nutrient availability to assess what you should be putting down. In many cases, your soil test indicates that your soil levels of P and K are adequate, you just have to make those nutrients available.


Microbes and increasing microbial activity are key to improving the availability of the nutrients already in the soil. By using a catalyst to wake up the dormant microbes, you can increase the health of your soil and the availability of the tied-up nutrients, leading to healthier plants, a decreased need for additional fertilizer and a higher potential for yield.


Agnition’s Generate® can Make the Difference

Generate® uses patented Microbial Catalyst® technology to stimulate soil microbes by unlocking enzymes that encourage efficient nutrient use. Microbes release nutrients and organic acids that improve the pH of the soil making nutrients more available to the plant.


This results in:

  • Faster emergence

  • Improved early-season vigor

  • Healthier plants all season long

  • Greater yield

What can Generate do on your farm? Try now with our No-Risk Trial Program!