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OptRx™ Crop Sensors: Your Questions Answered (Part 2)

by Feb 7, 2011DirectCommand™

As a grower, it’s important to take whatever steps needed to ensure maximum yield potential. Variable rate nitrogen application utilizing OptRx crop sensors is one way to reduce the risk of over fertilizing in early growth stages and ensure optimum plant health across the entire field.

How can OptRx help maximize my profit potential? Organically Speaking The amount of organic matter your fields contain plays a big role in how much nitrogen your fields naturally produce. For example, university research has shown that organic matter can produce about 30lbs of nitrogen per % of organic matter per year. Fields can range from 2% to 6% organic matter.  2% organic matter soils produce about 120 lbs/acre less nitrogen than 6% organic matter soils.  This means the ideal nitrogen application can vary by 120 lbs/ac based on organic matter alone.

OptRx-VRT

By incorporating OptRx into your plan, the crop sensors will sense the lower crop vigor and prescribe more nitrogen than plants in high organic matter areas that have more crop vigor.  In short, OptRx makes up for the reduced amount of nitrogen coming from low organic matter areas while eliminating over application of nitrogen on high organic matter areas.

Too Much Rain Variability in available nitrogen can also be caused by excessive rainfall.  As much as 5% of plant available nitrogen in saturated soils can be lost to the air per day through a process called denitrification.  This means a soil with 150 lbs/ac of plant available nitrogen can lose 75 lbs/ac of N if it’s waterlogged for 10 days.  Plants growing in these saturated areas will have less crop vigor.  OptRx detects the lower crop vigor and applies more nitrogen.

Do the Math* Did you know corn plants need to take up about 1 pound of nitrogen/ac from the soil for every 1 bu/ac they produce? The benefit of applying the right amount of nitrogen to nitrogen-deficient corn is so great you can’t afford not to do it. Let’s assume nitrogen is $0.50/lb, and corn is selling for $4.00/bu, and half the applied nitrogen is taken up by the plant.  By applying the right amount of nitrogen in deficient areas, OptRx provides a 4 to 1 return on the cost of the additional nitrogen.  That’s an extra $200/ac for a $50 investment in nitrogen that OptRx applies on corn 50 lbs/ac deficient in nitrogen.  Plus, OptRx does not over apply nitrogen in good areas. This is why OptRx has outperformed uniform nitrogen rates by $20-$30 in side-by-side field scale trials.

*Wheat plants need to take up 2 pounds of nitrogen/ac from the soil for every 1 bu/ac they produce. Assume nitrogen cost $0.50/lb, wheat sells for $6.00/bu, and half of applied nitrogen is taken up by the plant.  By applying the right amount of nitrogen in deficient areas, OptRx provides a 3 to 1 return on the cost of extra nitrogen.  That’s an extra $150/ac for a $50 investment in nitrogen that OptRx applies on wheat 50 lbs/ac deficient in nitrogen.  This, plus that OptRx does not over apply nitrogen in good areas, is why OptRx has outperformed uniform nitrogen rates by $10-$15 in side-by-side field scale trials.
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