Illinois growers can now access a new "app" on their Android phones that calculates optimum nitrogen fertilizer application rates, said Dennis Bowman, University of Illinois crop systems Extension educator.

A few years ago, U of I Extension specialists started recommending the Maximum Return to Nitrogen (MRTN) model for calculating the economic optimum nitrogen rate. Several Corn Belt states collaborated on developing this system and created a common website for farmers to use, extension.agron.iastate.edu/soilfertility/Help.aspx.

This system takes input from the farmer on current fertilizer and corn prices as well as the farmer's location and crop rotation, and then creates a customized recommendation.

Using this information, Bowman recently created an "app" for Android smartphones or tablets.

"This app will take your input and calculate the optimum MRTN-based nitrogen application rate," Bowman said. "It will also show you the range of application rates that keep you at the top of the MRTN curve."

This app is still being tested, but Bowman said he is willing to share it with Illinois farmers that have Android smartphones or tablets. For more information, email ndbowman@illinois.edu and enter "Send MRTN" in the subject line.