Wallaces Farmer

2x2 or 2x2x2? What is the best application for your starter fertilizer system?

2 Min Read

In 2017, one study conducted across all six of Beck’s Practical Farm Research (PFR)® locations was the Starter Fertilizer Systems Study. The goal of this study, as explained by the team, was to test the placement of fertilizer. 

At the end of last season, the practice of adding 30 units of nitrogen (N) 2x2 was identified as PFR Proven™.  This meant that 30 units N/A. 2x2, tested across multiple years and at multiple locations, proved to be the most profitable practice. With this PFR Proven practice in mind, Beck’s PFR team set a new goal of determining if yields could be further increased by applying these 30 units/N. on both sides of the row.  Additionally, when applying N to both sides of the row, the team wondered if increasing the overall rate would increase yields while not burning seed. In this study, three sites (KY, Central IL and Southern IL) tested the Yetter Dual 2968 Series Unit Mount while three other sites (IN, OH and IA) tested the Martin Dual Unit Mounted Opener (UMO). 

Regardless of location or equipment used, a yield advantage was observed when the N was placed on both sides of the row. This yield was further increased as the rate of applied N was increased. While the data below only reflects the results from Beck’s Ohio PFR site, these trends were observed across all six locations.

In addition to the rate and placement of N, the PFR team also wondered if an additional product could be added to a starter fertilizer system to increase early-season plant vigor and ultimately, yield. The product tested in the 2x2 system versus the dual 2x2 setting was the PFR Proven product, Start Right.  This product has shown an average yield advantage of 9.8 Bu./A. across four years and continues to show a yield advantage in a 2x2 system when combined with 30 units of N. In 2017, however, this yield advantage diminished when used in the dual 2x2 system. The lack of yield response in the case of the dual 2x2 application of Start Right appeared to be a result of the product concentration rather than placement. While the same rate of Start Right was applied in both the 2x2 and dual 2x2 systems, the division of the product in the dual 2x2 led to negligible yield gains.

Beck’s agronomists have noted that N placement applications made both early and late in the season have been a topic of interest for a number of years and appears to be a consideration when looking at additional ways to increase yields. This is just one of many studies that will be available in the 2017 PFR Book that will be published in December.

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