No-tillage has become a popular production option with many Tennessee farmers in the past 20 years. In 1993, no-tillage production systems were used on 290,000 acres of corn in Tennessee, or 44 percent of the total corn acreage planted in the state (TDA). Many farmers see no-tillage as a way to reduce the cost of growing corn. Others have chosen no-tillage as a way to comply with governmental regulations covering the farming of highly-erodible soils.
Input levels and prices are important to consider in any production system. A major expense in corn production is nitrogen (N) fertilizer. No-tillage budgets published by The University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service include N (ammonium nitrate) application rates as high as 125 pounds per acre, at a cost of $31.25 per acre (Gerloff). In this publication, the costs of five fertilization methods are compared and break-even prices to land, management and risk are calculated. The methods studied are: 1) broadcasting urea; 2) broadcasting ammonium nitrate (AN); 3) broadcasting urea-ammonium nitrate (UAN-B, 32 percent solution); 4) injecting urea-ammonium nitrate (UAN-I, 32 percent solution); and 5) injecting anhydrous ammonia (AA).
"PB1544 Comparing the Cost of Broadcasting Versus Injecting Nitrogen in No-Tillage Corn," The University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service, PB1544-2.5M-7/95 E12-2015-00-002-96, http://trace.tennessee.edu/utk_agexcrop/50