Understanding the adoption of model simulation for nitrogen recommendations

A digital agronomist says many farmers are skeptical about the use of crop modeling to help pinpoint nitrogen application.

David Chaffin with Yara says simulating nitrogen recommendations can allow producers to apply targeted rates within the same field. “With mapping, we can really get down to the subfield level and manage. I think that’s something not all growers completely understand yet is that you know the variably within your field.  We can actually manage that on a subfield level.”

For example, different soils will have “very unique reactions to nitrogen and weather.  That culminates in variances in yield.  Let’s manage the sand environment to what it’s true yield potential is versus the clay loam.”

He tells Brownfield there isn’t enough data yet to show that the technology can reduce fertilizer costs and produce higher yields. “It may not always 100 percent translate to improved ROI, but they are seeing some improvements on their operation.”

He says another reason for skepticism is that producers are facing digital fatigue.

Chaffin spoke with Brownfield at the 2022 Nitrogen Efficiency Use workshop hosted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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