One farmer told us in the combine cab recently that it's a whole new ball game with $3 corn vs. $5 corn. Everything must prove that it is paying its way. It's one reason why I was in his combine cab. He does extensive testing on his own farm for hybrids, planting rates and more to determine what pays and what doesn't pay.
Consultants are ready to provide advice for places where farmers might trim costs, and areas where they believe they shouldn't cut costs.
"You can assess your nitrogen rates using the nitrogen rate calculator," says Jeff Nagel, an agronomist with Ceres Solutions. Nagel, Lafayette, and also an Indiana Certified Crop Adviser.
The N-rate calculator allows you to plug in nitrogen prices, corn prices and then try various rates and play "what if" -type scenarios.
Don't worry that it is on an Iowa State Website. Iowa State University developed it many years ago. However, there is now hard data from Indiana that you can select and plug into the calculator. This data indicates how much yield you can expect from various N rates in different parts of the state.
Bob Nielsen and Jim Camberato, Purdue University Extension agronomists, set out to develop a data bank that could be used in this calculator nearly a decade ago. Since then they have collected data, mostly on large replicated, field-size trials, both on university and private farms.
They break up their data into sections of the state where N needs vary. They tend to be lower in western and northwestern Indiana to produce a specific yield, and higher in central and eastern Indiana. The rest of the state falls somewhere in between those areas in terms of recommended nitrogen rate. The calculator is set up so you can choose the area where you live in Indiana and have the most accurate information when you run your scenarios.