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Keys to maximizing fertilizer applications

Nov 20, 2019

Growing a profitable crop requires properly placed inputs.  Fertilizer is an important input for growing a profitable crop.  When you apply fertilizer, you want to make sure you are getting the most out of the that investment and your crops are using the fertilizer. The following 4 factors will aid in getting the most out of your fertilizer application.

Knowing exactly what your soil needs will help identify what type of fertilizer is needed.  Conducting a soil test every 3-5 years will help identify what soil nutrients are needed most. If manure has been applied then a soil test should be conducted more frequently. Another factor to consider before identifying a type of fertilizer would be what nutrients do your crops need.  Understanding these two factors will help pin point the right fertilizer for your field. Developing a fertilizer program by creating a fertilizer prescription recommendation will help maximize investment.

Timing is everything, especially when it comes to fertilizer application.  Ensuring the nutrients applied are available at the time the crop wants to uptake the nutrients is very important.  Applying a fall or spring application of fertilizer is most common.  Winter application has a higher chance of runoff or leaching.  Spring application gives an increased chance of the product being available for plant uptake and decreases the chance for runoff or leaching.

Placement of the fertilizer is very important.  Making sure the nutrients are in the correct place, so the plants can uptake the nutrients and put them t work.  This is where the fertilizer prescription can help pin point productive or non-productive areas of fields.  This allows a more accurate use of fertilizer to maximize ROI.

Understanding how your fertilizer application performs throughout the season will help with in-season management. Taking tissue samples is a great way to get a snapshot of what your crops are taking up throughout the grower season. This will allow you to make in-season management decisions.  Evaluation of the correlation between as applied maps and yield analysis will indicate if there is a positive return on investment.    

Contact your Crop Advisor with questions about fertilizer, fertilizer or seed pre-pay or making a fertilizer plan for next season. If you apply manure to your fields, Centra Sota’s TSP  can help with the analysis and planning.


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