Did you hold off applying fertilizer last fall because you didn't know how much corn you were going to plant this spring, or where you were going to plant it?
If so, there's some good news.
Spring applications of phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) can be just as effective as fall applications in the Northern Plains, if they are made in a timely manner before secondary tillage and planting, says Zach Fore, a DuPont-Pioneer agronomist.
Also, sidedressing equipment is becoming more widely available and can used to apply nitrogen (N) and sulfur (S) after you get corn planted.
Banded P and K applications are best suited for specific situations, including soils that are slow to warm in the spring and soils that are managed under no-till or conservation tillage, Fore says.
Access to intensive soil sampling information will make it possible spend fertilizer dollars on an acre-by-acre basis to get the most responsive whole-field yields.
Crop residue removal alone should not be the basis of P and K applications, Fore says.
Rates should be based on intensively-sampled soil test values with an eye on the relative incline or decline of the soil test value over time. If your goal is to get to a higher soil test level, then managing for a slight incline will be favorable.Read more in the January issue of Dakota Farmer. You can find it online.