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Starter Fertilization Can Help with Cool Soil and Late Planting Dates

Antonio Mallarino, Professor, Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University
April 26, 2018

When Is Starter Fertilizer Beneficial?

With delayed spring weather and low or uncertain grain prices, farmers and crop consultants are asking questions about starter fertilizer for corn this spring. The placement of small amounts of plant nutrients in bands offset to the side and below the seed row or in the seed furrow increases the concentration of nutrients where seedling roots grow. Common starter fertilizers have nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) and sometimes sulfur (S) or micronutrients. Research in Iowa and the north central region has shown that early plant growth increases from starter fertilizer are common and can be large in corn but are uncommon and small in soybean.

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