Experts from the Kansas State University Research and Extension recently shared their tips for applying starter fertilizer this season.
Starter fertilizer – typically used near the seed at planting time – is meant to “jump-start” growth in the spring. The experts also claim that this may be a good opportunity to apply higher rates of fertilizer to supply most of the nitrogen and phosphorus needs for the corn crop. This is because wet soil conditions across the state throughout the fall and winter months may have limited nitrogen applications for corn.
The experts note that producers need to be cautious when applying starter fertilizer with high rates of nitrogen – it is ideal to have some soil separation between the starter fertilizer and the seed. To begin safely, the experts recommend placing the starter fertilizer as a deep-band 2 to 3-inches to the side and 2 to 3-inches below the seed. Another option is to apply it as a surface-band to the side of the seed row at planting time (2x0).
Applying the starter fertilizer with the corn seed runs the risk of seed injury, according to the experts. Instead, producers should consider starter fertilizer placement, such as 2x2 or “surface dribble,” which ensures that there is enough soil between the fertilizer and the seed.
More information on corn crop production and starter fertilizer usage can be found on the K-State Extension website this planting season.