"We need to start the year with some soil analysis. This farm is going to take 'X' amount of nutrients to raise a bean crop. This farm is going to take 'X' amount of nutrients to raise a corn crop.
     "The soil analysis will pull up the carryover nitrogen, the carryover phosphorus, potassium, micronutrients. Then from there, beans need phosphorus. I think that's something that a lot of people in the past generations that haven't understood nutrient management maybe have shorted themselves. Phosphorous is expensive. That same field with marginal phosphorous numbers – corn needs phosphorous, too. But a field with marginal phosphorous numbers, you can raise a corn crop on it with some starter fertilizer, with nitrogen, by all means. You can't short yourself there. So you've got to look at each field in itself…
     "It's called an 'Exactrix' unit. It's an anhydrous machine. But in this particular machine also injects 10-30-40 fertilizer (which we're injecting for phosphorous levels in corn) and then sulfur thio-sol, and it's stabilizing nitrogen. And the way that it's injected – the chemical reaction there – it's stabilizing nitrogen, building nitrogen crystals so that the nitrogen is not leaching down, it's not volatizing into the air. We're cutting our nitrogen rates down by up to 40 percent, which – Nitrogen has really taken off as an input, price-wise. It would be about four times as expensive as when I came back in '95. Today [it's four times as expensive] as what it was then. So if we can cut 40 percent off of that input right there – Short of cash rent, fertility inputs per acre would be the next most expensive thing that you're putting out there."

Chris Ziegler – Using Fertilizers


Excerpts from Chris Ziegler’s Interview:

Farming Over Generations
Women on the Farm
His Girls & Farming
Urban Sprawl, with Clyde Ehlers
Raising Kids for Export
Tractors (& Horses) Bog Down
Planting Tech Changes
Tillage Changes