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Initiative pays farmers to compare fertilizer application rates


Fri, Mar 5th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture

It's not too late to sign up for the 2010 Minnesota Nutrient Management Initiative, which is paying farmers $1,200 annually for comparing the profitability and productivity of two different fertilizer application rates on one of their fields. Farmers participating in this program will learn about the nutrient use efficiency resulting from their specific management practices on their land.

The program is simple. Two fertilizer rates are replicated three times and evaluated for yield and profit based the participant's fertilizer costs. Fertilizer rate comparisons may involve nitrogen or phosphorous, and nitrogen comparisons must maintain at least a 30 pound per acre rate difference. Participants must work with a Certified Crop Advisor who will assist with site design and validate cropping and yield information. Once reporting is completed, participants receive an economic summary. The identity of every participant is kept confidential.

Agricultural and conservation professionals will benefit as the Nutrient Management Initiative data indicate how corn is responding to nitrogen rates on real farms across Southern Minnesota. This may shed light on the effects of key production variables including fertilizer type, soil type, plant variety and application method and timing. As the number of participating farms increases in each county, this database will grow in value.

The majority of participants in the Nutrient Management Initiative have commented favorably about their experiences and fine-tuned their nutrient management as a result. Additionally, one hundred percent of crop advisers interviewed agreed the program assisted farmers with nutrient management evaluation and influenced management changes.

The Nutrient Management Initiative is funded through the Environmental Quality Incentive Program and administered through a partnership between the NRCS and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Program results will assist Minnesota NRCS with evaluation of their nutrient management guidance.

Program details and prior year results are available at www.mda.state.mn.us/nmi. Interested farmers should visit their local NRCS office, or call Derek Fisher at 507-369-6693.

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