Monday, November 13, 2006 - 4:30 PM

Economic Value of Enhanced Efficiency Fertilizers.

Harold Reetz Jr., Foundation for Agronomic Research, 107 S State St #300, Monticello, IL 61856-1968, United States of America, T. S. Murrell, Potash & Phosphate Institute, 3579 Commonwealth Rd., Woodbury, MN 55125-4379, United States of America, Kevin C. Dhuyvetter, Kansas State Univ, Agricultural Economics, 307 Waters, Manhattan, KS 66506, and Gary D. Schnitkey, Univ of Illinois, Dept of Agricultural & Consumer Economics, Mumford Hall, Urbana, IL 61801.

Nutrient management, especially nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) management is a major challenge facing crop producers and their advisers.  Pressures of economics, logistics, and environmental concerns add to the complexities of the chemical, physical, and biological components of the management system.  Several new fertilizer materials and additives that are now available, or in late stages of research and development, show promise of helping provide more options in N and P management.  Enhanced efficiency fertilizer products act in various ways, such as delaying release of the nutrients, inhibition of biological activity, or physical protection from chemical reaction or weather effects.  New technologies for monitoring N status of the crop and soil, and new equipment for application and rate adjustment provide a number of alternatives that may be used to improve accuracy and efficiency on N fertilization.  Agronomic research with a wide variety of crops, soils, and climates is building a knowledge base on how these products, tools, and technologies can be used to improve management, to develop guidelines of best management practices for nutrients.  Before implementation can proceed on a significant scale, these agronomic responses must be tested with economic analysis to determine their feasibility and profitability.  Guidance on applying the economic analysis to these new technologies and comparing them to current practices is an important parallel evaluation along with the agronomic testing.  We provide an overview of the agronomic systems into which the new nutrient management BMPs can be included, and an economic assessment of efficiency and profitability of practical applications on the farm level.  We also address potential economic impact on the supply industry of adding these new practices and products into local production systems.