Planning for Nitrogen: Less is More

Planning for Nitrogen: Less is More

Farmers that apply less fertilizer are making the quickest, easiest change to increase their profitability.


The MRTN has been an excellent predictor of the most profitable nitrogen fertilizer rate for corn EVERY SINGLE YEAR since we began our program in 2015. Farmers that apply nitrogen over MRTN are less profitable than those applying at MRTN rates, on average.

Our data indicates that the most profitable nitrogen application rate range in 2022 was 151-175 lbs TOTAL N per acre (including nitrogen contained in MAP, DAP or applied with herbicides). The most profitable high SPR cornfields received less than 1 pound of nitrogen per bushel.


Preplant and sidedressed nitrogen applications at MRTN levels are paying off. Seventy percent of the most profitable high SPR cornfields receive most of their nitrogen in the spring. Consider this as you make decisions regarding your N-timing for this coming year. In-season timing is good for your wallet and the environment.

Learn more in our 2023 data summary: The Business Case for Conservation

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