Calculating the Value of Wheat Straw

As producers work through the various budgets for the 2022 crop year there is one calculation coming up in a few weeks that shouldn’t be overlooked.  Wheat grain prices have been very strong recently, but if you are faced with the decision of whether to remove the straw or leave it in the field, take a few minutes to update the value of the nutrients that would be removed with the straw and make sure you are adequately compensated for the replacement costs.

The Ohio State University tells us that a well grown wheat crop will yield about 2.5 to 2.8 tons of straw.  Data shows that a ton of wheat straw contains about 11 lbs of nitrogen, 3 lbs of phosphorous and 20 lbs of potassium.  When we apply today’s fertilizer prices to the nutrients removed we can quickly approach $95.00/acre.

Compared to past fertilizer prices that placed the value of straw at around $17.00/ton the current value of the nutrients places the price closer to $35-40/ton.  Several factors can affect the actual removal rates such as rainfall following harvest and prior to bailing that will leach a portion of the potassium back to the soil.

If you would like to submit a straw sample to the lab for testing we can more accurately estimate the nutrients removed and assist you with your calculations.

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