While grain prices remain volatile because of increased inventories, you may be considering cutting input costs going into the planting season. It’s important for growers to remain cautious about cutting corners but know that there are ways to save without sacrificing yield. Crop management is key. Here are five valuable tips to consider:
Grid sampling: Grid sampling helps you target areas in your fields that are nutrient deprived and areas where fertilizer applications aren’t necessary. You’re able to reduce fertilizer costs with sampling by only applying nutrients where necessary versus over the entire field. When a troubled area is identified, you can target those areas to help them become more productive, whether with fertilizer or other applications.
Variable rate fertilizing: Split application of nitrogen can help cut fertilizer costs. Applying nitrogen before the corn is planted, at planting time and then at the V5 stage meets the timeframe for when the plants really need nitrogen. It is especially important with extreme weather events and the genetics we have today that nitrogen be applied later in the season, around the V5 stage. Splitting these applications helps prevent over treating a field.
Matching populations: Appropriately matching populations to hybrids and varieties can help stretch your dollar. Work with your trusted seed advisor and consider weather variables and field conditions that have impacted yield in the past to find the right product and spacing for your field.
Weed control: Weed control is important in every aspect of crop management. You need to pair the right hybrid or variety with the right genetics to fight weeds that have been problematic in your fields. However, not every area of your field may require herbicide applications. Before you get in the field, do some pre-crop scouting to determine problematic areas and spray those areas only. Survey your fields throughout the growing season for troubled areas to determine where a post spray is necessary. Only spraying the problem areas will cut herbicide costs while maximizing profits.
Reduce tillage: Save energy and fuel costs by reducing tillage. While tillage can be an option when you need to level a field or flush out weeds before you spray, seriously consider the costs associated with an extra pass around the field.