Submitted to: Hoard's Dairyman
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 4, 2011
Publication Date: April 25, 2011
Citation: Russelle, M.P. 2011. Potash and nitrogen in alfalfa-corn rotations: withholding pays dividends. Hoard's Dairyman. 156(8):308. Technical Abstract: With high fertilizer prices, farmers need to reevaluate the rates they apply in order to optimize their profitability. In on-farm work in Minnesota, we determined how much potash fertilizer was needed for the last year of alfalfa production and the amount of nitrogen fertilizer needed on the next year's corn crop. In both cases, there was little chance of obtaining a profitable return from applying the fertilizer. There was no forage yield or quality benefit to applying potash to the alfalfa during its last production season. Not adding potash saves $20 to $30 per acre in fertilizer costs alone. We found that it is very likely that a good stand of alfalfa will provide all of the N requited for the next corn crop. At today's prices, that saves $27 in material cost alone for every 50 pounds of N that are not applied.