Reducing Fertilizer Costs in 2009

December 23, 2008 at 7:00 am 4 comments

It is clear by the number of comments, questions and discussions I overhear that fertilizer costs dominate much of the concern for 2009 crops. Prices of crop fertilizers had increased substantially over the last two years and have only recently begun to soften. Unfortunately the bottom has fallen out of commodity prices which makes fertilizer inputs cost the dominate factor in determining crop profit.

The first and absolutely most important step you can take in determining fertilizer need and use for your crop is to take a soil sample. If there was ever a year to use the reserves of phosphorus and potassium in the soil – this is it! A soil sample can be a ‘do-it-yourself’ project, or contact any one of the local agribusinesses.

The results from your soil test will give you a baseline where you stand on phosphorus and potassium. If you soil test phosphorus and potassium levels reach a certain level, no additional fertilizer is required for that crop that year. If the soil test phosphorus and potassium aren’t at this level they may be at the level that only requires they be used at a maintenance rate.

In addition to phosphorus and potassium levels, a soil test can give you insight to soil pH. Phosphorus can be as much as 20-25% more available in this pH range as opposed to a pH in the 5’s.

Finally, consider using manure on your farm to supplement or offset commercial fertilizer. Manures are an excellent source of fertilizers and can be less expensive than purchased commercial fertilizers. Good distribution and nutrient testing are the keys to the use of manures as fertilizers. They will usually build phosphorus levels and maintain potassium levels when used. The nitrogen availability is somewhat unpredictable but good estimates can be made for the conditions under which the manure was used.

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  • 1. Bruce  |  January 15, 2009 at 12:47 am

    Excellent blog post and podcast!

    AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer can reduce your fertilizer costs for 2009 and provide the nutrients/minerals needed for your crops. Starting at $40/acre, hay producers have seen an increase in yield for a lower cost.

    With commodity costs on the low side farms will need to find ways to reduce their costs. A lower cost natural fertilizer that provides an increasing yield is a win-win.


    • 2. andykleinschmidt  |  January 15, 2009 at 1:20 am

      OK Bruce — I’ve allowed your comment and your blatant sales pitch. Now, tell me and my reading audience what is so different about your product. Give us some unbiased, third-party comparisons of your product to other liquid fertilizers. How does AGGRAND reduce fertilizer costs for 2009? Give me some economic numbers. I want to know more, and farmers will too. Saying things like “XYZ can reduce your ferrtilizer costs. . . ” doesn’t tell me much. Give me more. Your website and your above comment are lacking in detail on these issues.

  • 3. Bruce  |  January 15, 2009 at 2:40 am


    A blatent sales pitch I would have added all the details. I was trying for the soft sale.

    I will admit that I do not have any third party testimonials. I do have some second party testimonials from two hay farmers:

    In Mr. Gore’s testimonial (second link) he used 1.5 gallons of fertilizer. A 55-gal. drum of Aggrand costs $937 (Factory direct cost to farmers, includes tax and shipping) or $17.04/gallon. Mr Gore’s cost would be $25.55/acre. Some people do not believe that 1 gallon of a 4-3-3 fertilizer per acre is enough so they apply more.

    Aggrand recommends 1 gallon per 25 gallons of water and applied with agitation and/or recirculation to one acre of pasture at greenup
    in spring and after each cutting or grazing period when new growth reaches 4 to 6 inches.

    My $40/acre is a generic number. I am assuming three cuts with application after each cut. In addition, there are additional prices discounts with the more product you buy so each farm would have slightly different costs

    Please tell me what you are seeing for chemical fertilizer costs in 2009.

    What makes Aggrand fertilizer differnt? It is a fish and kelp based product, it is effective as either a foliar feed or soil application, increases microbial activity, it is non-toxic, no chemical run-off, increased root development and improved disease and stress

    Andy I hope this answered your questions and I appreciate the forum to discuss them. If not them please contact me. I would like to hear your experiences and stories with natural fertilizers for commercial farms.

    For full list of brochures goto


    • 4. andykleinschmidt  |  January 16, 2009 at 10:34 am

      This is excellent, Bruce. Thanks for taking the time to reply and provide additional information. I believe this gives legitimacy to your product and your company.


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