Spring crops are going in the ground and fertilizer prices are skyrocketing.
To help ease the sting of costs on growers, the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service Precision Agriculture group has developed two new soil fertility calculators, or apps, to help growers maximize their fertilizer dollars.
The NPK Recommendations Calculator and the Fertilizer Blend Calculator can be used on any device with Internet access. Both calculators are designed to support the needs of large acreage farmers, home lawn and garden applications, and small plot vegetable producers.
The NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) Recommendations Calculator uses soil type, crop code and soil test levels for phosphorus and potassium to provide Clemson recommendations for fertilizer applications. These recommendations can be pushed to the Fertilizer Blend Calculator to calculate application rate after accounting for other inputs and ultimately determining suitable fertilizer blends.
“Rate- and cost-optimized fertilizer blends to satisfy the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium rates for a particular application are calculated based on user-specified, locally available fertilizer products,” said Kendall Kirk, Clemson Extension precision agriculture engineer. “This will save growers money and increase yields by reducing fertilizer overapplication and mitigating fertilizer underapplication. Using these soil fertility calculators will help growers maximize their fertilizer dollars.”
Kirk is part of a robust team of scientists dedicated to developing precision agriculture technologies such as software, sensors, UAVs and robots designed to increase farming productivity and sustainability. The team is housed at the Edisto Research and Education Center in Blackville, South Carolina, which also will be the home of Clemson’s new Center for Agricultural Technology (CU-CAT).