Back to Ag Notes

551 - Starter Fertilizer Provides "Bang for your Bucks"

Starter fertilizer has provided great benefit for those using it for nearly 20 years. About 75% of all growers used it in 2010. However increased usage has slowed in recent years. Even in 2010 with an early planting date starter fertilizer increased revenue by nearly $30/acre and P fertilizer cost was reduced by about $27 per acre. Starter fertilizer use may be especially beneficial when using conventional varieties to get the crop off to a fast start to compete better with weeds.

Starter Fertilizer Use by Factory District

Benefits of In-furrow Starter Use:

  • Increased early season vigor
  • Improved crop stress tolerance
  • RSA usually increased
  • P fertilizer cost saving of $15-$35/acre
  • Best efficiency of applied P fertilizer use
  • Best P utilization in cold soils - see Table 2.

* Soil Temperature Effects P Use: Using starter fertilizer for corn grain, sorghum, soybeans - Hergert and Wortmann - Extension Soils Specialists, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Starter Use Considerations:

  • Know the P value of your product
  • Compare starters on cost per pound of nutrient
  • The lower your soil test the greater the value of starter P
  • For soils testing low, or very low for P consider a broadcast application of P

Table 3: Know How Much P is in Your Starter

Pest Alert By Text Message

Look for information in the next Ag Notes and on regarding sign-up for text message alerts. Contact your agriculturist for more information.