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Cost savings recommendations for farmers

A field crops extension educator says reevaluating soil fertility and seeding rate plans can provide farmers savings during low commodity prices.

Jim Isleib with Michigan State University tells Brownfield fertilizer is one of the main input costs for crop farmers and regular soil testing can help identify what’s really necessary.  “f you haven’t been soil testing, you may find some things out that are eye opening.  You may need to increase certain nutrient application rates, but that can have an advantage in the bottom-line if you can produce better, and more volume of high quality crops.”  He recommends custom blended fertilizers rather than pre-blended ones and testing the nutrient content in livestock manure to eliminate applying unnecessary nutrients.

Isleib says reducing seeding rates slightly, while maintaining the same yield potential, can help farmers save on seed costs for all crops.  “Using the percent of live seed in a lot and accounting for some losses during plant establishment we can fine tune those.  For oats, barley and wheat, for example, a seeding rate of 1.3 to 1.5 million seeds per acre is a reasonable goal.”

He says commodity prices are expected to remain low for the next several years and even if farmers experiment this season with cost saving measures on a few acres, it could help their bottom-line long-term.

AUDIO: Interview with Jim Isleib

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