Nitrogen is a major factor in corn production and one of the most costly inputs a farmer will purchase. New data service technology is helping farmers do a better job of using just the right amount of nitrogen fertilizer to maximize yields. Dan Eppena, with Encirca from DuPont Pioneer, said field trials in Indiana in 2014 demonstrated just how god the technology can work, “We worked with several growers who used their traditional nitrogen formula on part of their field and our Encirca recommendation on the other part.” He said, in one example, the Encirca program recommended a higher rate of nitrogen because of the heavy rains, “Our recommendation was 130 units while the farmer used his traditional 100 units. At harvest, the part of the field with the 130 unites yielded 30 bpa more than the other part of the field.”
Eppena told HAT that, beginning in January, Encirca will add a module that will help growers determine not only the right amount of nitrogen but the right seeding population for a specific field, “Our research says if you really want to maximize nitrogen efficiency in a field you have to have the right plant population.” He added that it is not enough to just have the right nitrogen rate, but you must match it with the right seeding rate. The new Encirca system will give the grower that balance.
With both fertilizer and seeds costs remaining high, these tools may make the difference between profit and loss in 2015. Similar technology is being used by other services to offer growers similar recommendations. With profit margins being squeezed in 2015, this information may prove to be invaluable.