Producers looking to save money might also consider alternative sources, Corriher said. Animal manures may be an option, but she recommends testing to determine nutrient content.

She said beef cattle manure will average 27 pounds of nitrogen, 24 pounds of phosphorus and 36 pounds of potassium per ton. Dairy cattle manure averages 28, 11, and 26 pounds per ton. Broiler manure contains an average of 58 pounds of nitrogen, 51 pounds of phosphorus and 40 pounds of potassium per ton. Layer manure averages 30, 40 and 20 pounds per ton and swine manure provides 10, 9 and 7 pounds per ton, on average.

Corriher said these are averages and actual amounts vary. “Have it tested,” she said. “There is no guaranteed analysis.”

She said legumes may offer another nitrogen source for forage producers and provides added benefits. “Legume in forage may reduce or eliminate some commercial fertilizer,” she said. “Producers will still need phosphorus and potassium. They also get improved animal performance and may reduce winter feeding costs while improving soil tilth.”

Legumes also attract wildlife and help suppress weeds, which could reduce herbicide demand.

“But the best way to reduce cost is to soil test and calculate the cost per pound of nutrients, especially the three primary nutrients. If fertilizer and limestone are reduced, be prepared to lower stocking rates.”