Wheat grain and fertilizer prices have been variable recently. If you are faced with the decision of whether to remove the straw or leave it in the field, take a few minutes to calculate the value of the nutrients that will be removed with the straw. Make sure you are adequately compensated for the replacement costs of these nutrients.
IPNI nutrient removal data shows wheat straw removing 12 pounds N, 3.3 pounds of P2O5, and 24 pounds of K20 per ton. An 80 bushel per acre wheat crop will produce on average 4 ton per acre of straw with a low harvest cut height.
Be sure to calculate the cost to replace those nutrients when pricing the straw product. The cost to replace the P and K removed in the straw is approximately $50 per ton. The replacement cost of the N, P, and K is about $55 per ton. These prices will vary with the fertilizer market. 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 help you more accurately estimate the nutrients removed and your ALGL regional agronomist can help you with the calculations if needed.