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Poll Says Farmers May Cut Back on Nitrogen Rates in 2014

Poll Says Farmers May Cut Back on Nitrogen Rates in 2014
Zeroing in on right rate of nitrogen for corn is a tough task.

Farmers attending any one of nearly a dozen winter meetings held by Stewart Seeds and the AIM genetics team of agronomists these past few months were asked several key questions about how they expected to adjust farming practices in 2014. Some of the questions were suggested by Indiana Prairie Farmer.

Brian Denning, an AIM agronomist for Stewart Seeds, says one of the questions dealt with how much nitrogen the farmer expected to apply this year, compared to past practices.

Question: Will you apply more nitrogen than last year, and if so, how much?

Related: Poll Says Nearly Everyone Would Start Planting, If They Could

N applications: Many farmers say they don't intend to apply more N this year. In fact more say they will apply less N compared to 2013 than say they will apply more.

More than two out of five said they would apply the same amount. What surprised Denning, he notes, was that nearly one in three said they intended to apply less nitrogen than in 2013 for corn.

In total, nearly 75% of the farmers who responded to the live poll conducted through computer technology said they would apply either the same amount of N or less than a year ago. Only one in five said they would apply 10 to 20 pounds per acre more N than in 2013. Just over one in 20 would go 20 to 40 pounds per acre higher this year. And no one, not one person, intended to apply 40 pounds or more of nitrogen on corn in 2014 compared to their applicator rate on corn in 2013.

Related: Purdue Releases Nitrogen Rates Based on 8 Years of Trials

"Nitrogen application rates were a little lower than I expected," Denning observed, after seeing the summarized data. "The largest majority was going to apply about 125 pounds per acre, and were going to apply the same or less than last year.

"Certainly commodity prices may have something to do with this, but they may not explain the entire situation."

Commodity prices for corn were near their lowest when some of these polls were taken in early to mid-winter.

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