Six Steps to Efficient Nutrient Use

Preventing fertilizer from leaving your fields lowers production cost while increasing yield. Oh yes—it also protects water resources, says Ken Ferrie, Farm Journal Field Agronomist. Sure, you’ve heard the warnings before, but it can be overwhelming to put nutrient management practices into motion. Start with these six steps to address your environmental footprint:

1. Determine what type of tillage, if any, is best when and where to avoid creating erosion.

2. Base all fertilizer applications, whether commercial fertilizer or manure, on a sound soil test.

3. Assess the risk of nutrient loss for every soil type you farm.

4. Timing your nitrogen application is just as important as the equipment you use.

5. Apply less lime more often and use the correct stabilizer. Understand your nitrogen source, too.

6. Know when plants take up nitrogen and how much at critical growth stages.

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