Purdue University | Indiana CCA

Proceedings 2006

Indiana Certified Crop Adviser Conference


Starter Fertilizer Formulations and Placement

Field studies were conducted at the North Central Kansas Experiment Field, located near Scandia, on a Crete silt loam soil. The study consisted of four methods of starter fertilizer application (in-furrow with the seed, 2 inches to the side and 2 inches below the seed at planting, dribble on the soil surface 2 inches to the side of the seed, and banded over the row on the soil surface) and five starter fertilizer combinations. The starters consisted of combinations that included either 5, 15, 30, 45, or 60 lbs/A N with 15 lbs/A P2O5 and 5 lbs/A K2O. A no-starter check plot also was included in the experiment. Additional treatments included 2x2 starter with and without potassium. Dribble application of 30-30-5 starter fertilizer applied 2 inches to the side of the row also was compared to dribble directly over the row. Nitrogen was balanced so that all plots received 220 lbs/A N, regardless of starter treatment. Starter fertilizer combinations were made using liquid 10-34-0 ammonium polyphosphate, 28% UAN, and potassium thiosulfate (KTS). When starter fertilizer was applied in-furrow with the seed, plant populations were reduced by over 8,400 plants/A compared with the no starter check. Corn yield was 33 bu/A lower when starter fertilizer was applied in-furrow than when applied 2x2. Dribble application of starter fertilizer in a surface band 2 inches to the side of the seed row resulted in yields equal to 2x2 applied starter. Grain yield and V-6 dry matter were lower in the starter treatments that only included 5 or 15 lbs N/A. Other treatments were added in order to determine if K was responsible for any of the additional yield seen with the starter fertilizers or if N and P were the only elements necessary. Starters that included K improved yields (three-year average) by 12 bu/A.


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Barney Gordon
Kansas State University

Dr. Gordon is a professor in the Agronomy Department at Kansas State University. I have been a faculty member since 1990. I am in charge of the North Central Kansas Experiment Fields located near Belleville, KS about 100 miles north west of the main campus at Manhattan.