Wheat Farmers May See Better Economic Returns

Article excerpt

STILLWATER - Area wheat farmers may see better economic returns if they cut back their investments in fertilizer and chemicals, according to findings from the second year of Oklahoma State University's maximum economic yield study.

Extension wheat specialist, David Howle, says the study indicates that liberal use of fertilizer and chemicals may increase yields, but will not return as much money to the grower's pocket.

"It's a hard time for chemical and fertilizer salesmen," Bob Keating, agricultural information director for OSU says.

That translates to pushier sales pitches to farmers, he says.

"They're telling farmers, "Use our our product liberally and take our word for it that it will increase your yield and profit,'" he said, "but it's actually more costly," he said, citing the yield study results.

Keating suggested farmer use the chemicals on an "as needed" basis, rather than use them in a blanket coverage-type application.

The yield study is in its third year at four on-farm demonstration centers funded by the Wheat Commission, Howle said.

Purpose of the study is to determine the levels of production inputs most likely to give the best economic returns at harvest time.

"The economic analyses of treatments shows a wheat producer can expect the best return on investment when he follows current OSU recommendations for management practices," Howle said.

"Those include applying herbicide and insecticide only as needed and maintaining a sound fertilizer program based on soil tests and reasonable yield goals," Howle says.

Howle indicated that given the current economic situation, expensive inputs into fields are gambles.

"Weather conditions often have a greater influence on yield potential than most production inputs," he said. …