From Agronomists of the
Potash & Phosphate Institute
655 Engineering Drive, Suite 110
Norcross, Georgia 30092-2837
Phone (770) 447-0335

Spring 1996, No. 4


Now is a good time to review your nutrient management plans for the coming crop season. Changes in weather, crop rotation plans or yield goals may have shifted nutrient needs. Analyze yield data from last year’s crop. Does your maintenance fertilizer plan match the nutrients removed in the harvested crop? Did you adjust for expected nitrogen carryover from legume crops grown last year? Do planned fertilizer applications support the yield goals for the next season?

Consider manure applications made in the fall and winter. Be sure to make adjustments for nutrients applied in manure. If applications were less than anticipated, you may need to adjust fertilizer application upward. What about soil moisture? Your plans last fall may have been based on expected moisture and weather patterns. Are those projections still accurate? If fall and winter fertilizer applications were not made as planned, you may need to make adjustments to be sure adequate nutrients are supplied to the crop.

Market prices for crops may have increased since plans were made last fall. Don’t limit potential profits by being too conservative on fertilizer application. If you have used a marketing plan and forward contracted grain at a higher price, you may want to take a little extra risk and push yield goals a bit higher. Optimum fertilizer rates don't change much over a wide range of crop prices and fertilizer prices, but it may be worthwhile to re-check crop budgets to be sure the optimums still fit the plan.

Work with your fertilizer dealer and crop consultant to make any revisions in plans. Letting your dealer know of any changes in plans will help in planning for supplies needed and scheduling of application equipment. Your dealer will appreciate knowing your plans early and will be better able to meet your needs and schedule.

Planning ahead is always a good management practice. It is easier to review and revise plans than to wait until the last minute. Early planning is a good way to be sure all of the details are considered. Keep on file the rationale behind your plans, including calculations of application rates needed and any economic analysis. Then review those plans as more information becomes available on weather, prices and yields. Review new research results that may have come out since the plans were made. Take advantage of the latest information and incorporate it into your plan.

Most important, plan for a good year. You cannot predict all of the factors that will affect next season’s production, but planning for a bad year is one of the best ways to ensure you will have one.

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