Results for pages tagged with "fertilizer"
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With continued high costs, producers are asking if it is worth applying fertilizer. To borrow a line from our economist friends, "it depends."
Plant roots absorb nitrogen from the soil, much of it in the form of nitrate, and convert it into proteins in the leaves for plant growth.
Granular or prilled urea is used extensively as a nitrogen source. When urea is put on a moist soil, it dissolves and in the presence of urease, a naturally occurring enzyme, is transformed to ammonium carbonate.
Since the fall of 2006, producers have experienced dramatic increases in production costs, especially grains, by-product feeds, fertilizer and fuels. Also, calf prices have seen a significant drop. The way in which producers do business may have changed forever; it has at least for the short term.
There is an old Chinese curse that says, "May you live in interesting times." The current era in the livestock industry is about as interesting as most of us can stand. I believe we are in the midst of a paradigm shift. The cattle industry of tomorrow will almost certainly look different than it has in recent years.
With the variability of fertilizer prices, it is essential that fertilization schedules be updated and in harmony with optimal economic yield.
Fertilizer application decisions are just one part of the total management required to operate the farm or ranch utilizing good business principles. As you estimate total forage needs and how to provide them at the least cost, all options should be considered.
With higher fertilizer and herbicide prices, a common question we get involves whether you get a "bigger bang for the buck" from fertilizer or herbicides on introduced pastures. Ideally you would use both on introduced pastures that have weed problems, but input prices have made this a less than ideal world in pasture management.
Considering the high cost of commercial fertilizers, applying animal manures, poultry litter and biosolids in pastures may be a valuable alternative for forage production. These waste products not only provide essential nutrients, but can also add organic matter to improve structure, aeration and water-holding capacity of soil.
In 2006 we experienced the driest growing season on record, only to be followed by the best growing season in 2007. No doubt our pastures have seen the worst of times and the best of times in a very short time frame. As one of my colleagues, Eddie Funderburg, stated recently, your pastures are probably not as good as we saw last year or as bad as we saw in 2006.