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
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