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Patrick Riley’s Farm

Patrick has been using tried and true methods on his crops, but now more than ever, he is open to new management strategies that will potentially increase yield.

As a first-generation farmer, Patrick started his operation in 1975 and hasn’t looked back. At first, Patrick was raising cattle, but he and his family have shifted to growing crops such as corn, soybeans, hay, and wheat across 3,000 acres of land in Ohio County, Kentucky.

Before planting, Patrick performs a cost analysis to balance his operation’s expenses with projected yield and ROI. With the rise in input prices, each nutrient management decision is made carefully to ensure a successful season.

Overhead View

Fuel and fertilizer prices are top of mind for Patrick this season. Many farmers are cutting fertilizer rates while others are switching their corn acres to soybeans because of the potentially lower input and fuel costs for soybeans.

When estimating the cost of fuel alone, Patrick says, “A 100-acre field takes 100 gallons of diesel to get across at $4 per gallon. You have to do that about six or seven times. And whenever you put a combine in the field that’s two gallons of diesel per acre in the field. You also must add in the cost of driving on the highway. So, when you add that cost on top of all other costs, you’ve really changed your outcome of making any money. I sit down and figure out all these costs.”

Patrick is excited to see if applying ammonium sulfate to his test field will contribute to a positive yield response. If so, he is more than willing to make the investment on soybeans and corn in the future.

Patrick’s Field

Made in Kentucky

By the Numbers

50 bu/ac
AVERAGE SOYBEAN YIELD

60
ACRES IN TEST FIELD

15”
SOYBEAN ROW SPACING

160k
SOYBEAN POPULATION

60+ bu/ac
TEST FIELD YIELD GOAL

In the past, Patrick used soybeans in a crop rotation with corn as a weed control strategy. He has not used ammonium sulfate in corn rotation, but he has used other foliar type products as fertilizers. However, Patrick has not applied sulfur in twelve years because he has not seen a yield benefit. Prior to the Clean Air Act, Patrick felt confident that his plants were receiving the necessary sulfur from the air, but now with the environment containing less atmospheric sulfur, that is not the case.

The average soybean yield is about 50 bu/ac in Patrick’s area of Kentucky. He hopes applying ammonium sulfate to his soybeans will push his yield to at least 60 bu/ac.

Patrick’s 60-acre test field will include row spacing of 15 inches and population of 160,000 per acre.

Meet Patrick & His Family

Patrick and his family take a partnership approach in making nutrient management decisions to maximize ROI in their operation.

Three Heads Are Better Than One

For Patrick, farming is not a job. It’s a lifestyle. He enjoys being outside and loves being his own boss, but making a living alongside his son, Brad, and grandson, Logan, is the best part of the job. Patrick manages the finances and keeps track of what works for them, but he will not implement anything without first talking to his son. The goal is to discuss an idea as a family, then take action.

By the time chores are done on the farm, there isn’t much time to relax, but Patrick does enjoy going to church as a family, taking a dip in the pool and spending time at home with his wife Carol. Home is his favorite place to be.

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