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Rethinking fertilizer application

(CIFN file photo)

Many growers typically think of fall-applied phosphorus this time of year but now is the time to consider next season’s fertilizer programs as well.

Cory Mulhlbauer, agronomy lead with Precision Planting, says there is value in putting starter fertilizer on a planter. Starter is any type of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium blend a farmer or agronomist may choose.

“It’s what really gives corn a quick growth and quick start early in the year,” Muhlbauer explains. “It mitigates the effects of colder temperatures and excessive rainfall.”

Fall-applied fertilizer is part of a total program which can make starter pay, according to Muhlbauer. Those adding starter to a corn planter in the spring should make sure they properly adjust the fall application rates.

“We can pull those back a little bit because we are putting some pounds of nutrients on with the planter.”

Precision Planting performed research for several years on optimum placement for a phosphorus-based starter fertilizer. One of the company’s products, known as FurrowJet, has wings which slice through the ground and apply fertilizer three-quarters of an inch away from the seed to maintain seed safety with optimum rates.

Another product, called Conceal, is a knife which cuts through soil three inches away from the row – designed for the perfect placement of nitrogen-based products. Mulbauer has observed big results with planter applied fertilizer for the last six years.

“It’s amazing what a band of phosphorus and a band of nitrogen does to overcome the unique seasons we experience year over year,” Malbauer said.

More information on research and other topics can be obtained from The website includes details on the PTI research farm at Pontiac. Also, the company has a You Tube channel with various video presentations

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