In the middle of this rainy evening, I was reading the latest issue of Progressive Farmer and found an article to be quite interesting. It was titled “No Quick Fix to Fertilizer Prices”.

I’m not going to get very deep into the article, as the title basically sums up the point I want to make.

As almost all input prices soar, we need to look to technology as a tool to help save some money. Automatic shutoffs have made a huge splash in the marketplace, from planters to sprayers to fertilizer applicators including NH3 and dry spreaders, not to mention strip till applications.

The concept here is simple – reduce overlap of product being applied by using GPS position to accurately turn on and shut off sections of large equipment instead of trying to do it all with one shutoff.

This alone can add up to huge savings. Hands down, this is the fastest return on investment most people have seen so far in precision ag. But why does it have to stop there?

Prior to this technology many people have used precision ag for variable rate fertilizer or lime, and in fields with changing landscape or soils this also adds up to big savings.

Here is something simple that many haven’t thought of. For those of you spreading variable rate dry fertilizer, you can quickly squeeze a few more dollars out of each acre.

Often there is some nitrogen credit from the dry fertilizer being spread, and by using simple math we can cut back the amount of NH3 or other nitrogen source being applied by allowing for a credit in areas where higher rates of the dry fertilizer were spread.

I ran the numbers on this for a couple of fields, and this simple math averaged out to about $10 per acre saved in nitrogen. This only took a few minutes to create the prescription maps, and can be done with precision ag equipment that many already have.