Economics of Fertilizer Application in Grain Production
Total Available Nitrogen (Lbs/Acre):
Nitrate already in soil, plus applied nitrogen.
Applied Nitrogen (Lbs/Acre):
Total nitrogen applied as fertilizer. We measure the applied nitrogen as actual pounds of applied nitrogen, not pounds of fertilizer. Urea is a very common nitrogen source for Montana. Urea is 46% nitrogen, so to calculate how much urea you need to meet an applied nitrogen requirement, divide by 0.46. For example, if N requirement is 70 lbs nitrogen/acre, the urea required is 70/0.46 or about 150 lbs urea/acre.
Price per Actual Pound of Nitrogen ($/Lb):
Note that we measure applied nitrogen as actual pounds of nitrogen, not pounds of fertilizer. If urea is $500/ton, the price of nitrogen is $0.543/lb. $500/(0.46 x 2,000lbs). Also see "Applied Nitrogen."
Organic Matter (%):
Also called humus, organic matter is stable, largely decomposed plant material that gives surface soils their darker colors and provides some nitrogen to the soil as it is decomposed by microbes. Typical OM levels in Montana agricultural land range from about 1.5% to 2.5% but can be as high as 5% on long term irrigated alfalfa and grass.
Yield Goal (Bushels/Acre):
Your average grain yield. Some use average yield for the last 5 to 6 crops for the field, or an 'Olympic' average where the highest and lowest are thrown out before averaging. Increase that average by 5% if using an improved variety or management practices.
Percent protein content of the grain, which affects the price.
Wheat Price for 14% Protein Spring Wheat ($/Bushel):
Price paid per bushel for spring wheat with exactly 14% protein content.
Wheat Price for 12.5% Protein Winter Wheat ($/Bushel):
Price paid per bushel for winter wheat with exactly 12.5% protein content.
Protein Premium per One Quarter Point ($/0.25%):
Premium paid per quarter-percentage point increase in protein content over the low cutoff, up to the max protein cutoff.
Protein Discount per One Quarter Point ($/0.25%):
Discount for each quarter-percentage point decrease in protein content under the low cutoff.
Net Revenue ($):
Total revenue (price x yield) minus fertilizer costs.
Crop Share Lease (%):
In crop share leases, the operator receives a certain percentage share of the crop revenue from the land (the crop share), and the landowner receives the remaining portion. Many leases also specify that fertilizer costs, or the fertilizer share, will be shared between the landowner and the operator. For the operator, Net Revenue = (Price x Yield x Crop Share) - (Fertilizer Cost x Fertilizer Share). If you own your land or have a typical cash lease, then the crop share and fertilizer share are 100%.
Malt Barley Price ($/Bushel):
Price paid per bushel for barley sold for malting. Malt barley prices are often substantially higher than feed barley prices. If only interested in feed barley, set the malt and feed prices to the feed level.
Feed Barley Price ($/Bushel):
Price paid per bushel for barley sold for livestock feed. Note that feed barley is generally sold in dollars per hundredweight ($/cwt) meaning 100 lbs. To convert barley from $/cwt to $/bu, divide by 2. If only interested in feed barley, set the malt and feed prices to the feed level.
Protein Cut Off (%):
Over the protein cutoff, barley is considered feed quality.
Plump Cut Off (%):
Under the plump cut off, barley is considered feed quality.
The percentage of kernels that remain on a 6/64 inch slotted screen. Large kernels are preferred when making malt.