A starter fertilizer offers a lot of advantages on farms across rural America. Devin Wirth, a technical representative for CHS Agronomy, says a little goes a long way when applying a starter fertilizer.
“Since starter fertilizer is applied in-furrow or near the furrow, high concentrations aren’t necessarily needed or wanted since the roots are emerging so closely to where the fertilizer is placed, making nutrients readily accessible to the young plants. We often call starter fertilizers pop-up fertilizers for a reason. The nutrients applied boost the plants growing early in the season to pop them out of the ground. But often, in the springtime, plants have a tough time growing due to low temperatures and wet soils causing limited microbial activity and mineralization, which is really needed to supply seedlings with critical nutrients. Placing nutrients in an available form near the rooting zone can help lessen seedling stress despite the adverse soil conditions in the springtime.”
Wirth talks about the effects of starter fertilizer on crops.
“Not only will starter fertilizer to help with seedling vigor to withstand adverse conditions after planting, as mentioned before, but it also sets up the plants for earlier flowering and crop maturity. This can result in improved yields, better test-weight, and lower grain moisture at harvest, especially in years with cool summers or an early frost in the fall.”
He talks about other tips and benefits when using starter fertilizers.
“By providing nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium right where the plant needs it, starter fertilizers make the nutrients available for efficient uptake. However, if you’re not applying your fertilizer to the most perfect soils in the world, for instance, soils with high cation exchange capacity, high or low soil pH, or low organic matter, nutrients in the soil or in the starter fertilizer it can become tied up in the soil and unavailable to the plant. by adding products like nitrogen stabilizers, lime to increase your soil pH, or fertilizer efficiency products containing chelators, growers can better protect their starter fertilizers from being tied up by the tough soil conditions. Also, adding products like plant-growth regulators, biostimulants, or micronutrients like zinc, can help increase crop vigor and growth early in the spring.
Farmers are planting earlier every year, and Wirth says seedlings need support when emerging into cool and unpredictable environments.
“CHS Agronomy offers a product called Levesol® Zn that was designed specifically for fields prone to adverse conditions. Levesol® Zinc is a premix of the Levesol® chelates and four and a half percent zinc. The Levesol® chelate is a high-quality chelate that surrounds micronutrients such as iron, copper, magnesium, zinc and many others already found in your soil. It increases the availability and uptake of them by the plant. By chelating these positively-charged micronutrients to keep them away from binding with negatively-charged phosphorus and salting out, which means phosphorus is indirectly made more available to the plants as well. Another product CHS agronomy offers is a full starter fertilizer called Paralign™. Paralign™ is also formulated with Levesol® chelates, along with key plant nutrients and advanced enzymes. Paralign™ contains nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc that are necessary to enhance the plant growth, increase early-season root development, and correct nutrient deficiencies in order to maximize yield potential.”
To learn more about Levesol® Zn, Paralign™ or other starter fertilizer solutions, visit chsagronomy.com or contact your CHS Agronomy representative today.