Did you know that nitrogen fertilizer is up to 300% more expensive than last year?
Since natural gas is required to produce this type of fertilizer, with the increase of prices of natural gas, nitrogen fertilizer becomes less affordable, too. With its price rising, growers have to think of ways in which they can reduce costs so that this shortage does not affect their production.
Uninterrupted production and better yields are any farmer’s goals. In this article, we’ll share four ways to reduce costs as a grower that will help farmers have a successful cropping season.
1. Test to Soil to Plan the Fertilization Optimally
Before they start the fertilization process, farmers should conduct a soil test, to identify where the land may be more fertile, so it needs less nitrogen fertilizer. Soil testing is an investment, but the amount of money farmers could save by optimally using their nitrogen fertilizer may even be double, according to experts.
Based on these soil tests and nitrogen modeling software, farmers may opt to maintain their crops instead of building them. Purchasing the least amount of fertilizer that will maintain the crops until the prices are more affordable and applying it throughout the season instead of all at once may save the day and allow the farmers to ensure quality crops.
Also, soil tests may also help optimize water usage, which leads to cost reduction as well.
2. Digitalize the Drip Irrigation System
Apart from the initial investment, digitalizing the irrigation system saves water, but also manpower, and fuel. Farmers don’t need a brand-new irrigation system to enjoy the benefits of modernization.
Upgrading the already existing irrigation system with a simple controller device and pairing it with an app on the phone or laptop can reduce costs significantly.
While nitrogen fertilizer prices are going higher due to a global shortage, farmers need to find proactive ways to save costs. Smart irrigation systems can do this as water and fertilizers go straight to the plant in the amount that the plant needs.
Without overwatering or overfertilizing plants, farmers are saving more and more money on resources. Plus, since farmers don’t have to physically visit the farm to water the crops, they spend less money on fuel and manpower.
Did you know that it’s possible to save even 30% of water and reduce orchard visits 4 times according to a study? While it may sound far-fetched, with the right technology, nothing is impossible.
With less physical labor on-farm, and reduced costs for water and fertilizers, farmers can focus on other important aspects. Enhancing their business is crucial now when the prices are constantly going up.
Installing sensors, such as wind sensors, rain, freeze, and soil moisture sensors is crucial for the best results.
After installing these sensors, farmers connect them with the controller and have access to real-time data on their phones through an app.
Smart irrigation systems enable farmers to make informed decisions on irrigating their crops. In turn, this leads to decreased costs and higher yields.
3. Consult Agriculture Experts
The product the farmers purchase should fit the needs of their crops. Going for a cheaper option might cost them a lot more in the end when the crops fail.
Farmers should consult with Ag experts when purchasing fertilizers, but also seeds, herbicides, and pesticides.
A major part of this strategy is to place orders on time. Namely, if the farmer decides to buy products for the next season on time, the higher the chances that the price will be reasonable.
Smart purchases will lead to cutting costs, eventually.
4. Make the Most out of the Available Nitrogen Fertilizer
Farmers can optimize their usage of nitrogen fertilizer in several ways. They can:
- Apply nitrogen stabilizers to enhance nitrogen use efficiency: Stabilizers may prevent the ever-looming nitrogen losses. For the best results, stabilizers should be used on moist and warm soil and applied several times instead of all at once.
- Skip fertilizing the soil in fall: A rainy season may have a detrimental effect on the nitrogen application, so the best practices involve using this fertilizer in spring rather than in fall. That way, farmers don’t need to buy more nitrogen in spring to make up for what losses during fall and winter.
- Include other types of fertilizers: Sometimes, farmers focus on nitrogen fertilizer too much, so the plant may not get enough micronutrients, such as Mn, Cu, or Zn. That’s why combining nitrogen fertilizer with organic amendments is usually the way to go.
- Track nitrogen fertilizer usage: This may be crucial for optimal use in the future. If farmers know exactly how much of the fertilizer they have applied and when they have applied them, they can study the data and identify patterns that will lead them to optimal practices for their crops.
Reduce Costs by Making Informed Decision
Cost reduction begins the moment farmers start making informed decisions. Simply buying a product that is effective is sometimes not enough.
With prices constantly rising, it is vital that the farmer chooses the right product that fits the crops’ needs. Implementing smart irrigation systems is an excellent way for growers to reduce costs, despite the global nitrogen fertilizer shortage.