When it comes to inputs, South Dakota farmers have many decisions to make – what seed variety to select, how much fertilizer to apply and when to spray. All input decisions can impact yields, however, fertilizer application can potentially impact yields the most, says Bob Fanning, SDSU Extension Plant Pathology Field Specialist, during a recent iGrow Radio interview.
 
"In order to make good decisions on inputs, it is always a good idea to get some concept of what yield goal you might set for the crop. One of big inputs where yield goal can be used is fertilizer, because the amount of fertilizer and different nutrient ingredients farmers put on a crop is highly dependent on whatever yield goal they are shooting for," Fanning said.
 
Fanning was among the team of SDSU researchers who developed a useful guide, "South Dakota Fertilizer Recommendations," which provides growers with valuable information.
 
"That really contains almost everything a producer would need to know about fertilizer rates and specific issues relating to how much they can put with the seed," Fanning said.
 
Growers trying to set realistic yield goals may want to evaluate recent yield data from the last four to five years for specific crops in each field.
 
"When looking at the field data, throw out any really low or really high ones that may have occurred due to drought or really exceptional conditions or anything like that, average the remaining ones that fit in a group and maybe shoot for 10% higher than that," Fanning said. "This is one school of thought that really makes sense when setting yield goals."
 
To learn more or to receive a copy of "South Dakota Fertilizer Recommendations," contact any SDSU Regional Extension Center, or visit iGrow.org and under the Corn, Soybean or Wheat links select "South Dakota Fertilizer Recommendations."
 
The iGrow Radio Network and SDSU Extension bring listeners an informative show each day. For more information on the iGrow Radio Network, or to listen to archived shows, visit www.igrow.org.