In-Furrow Fertilizer: Boosting Wheat Yields

USAgNet - 09/15/2023

Wheat cultivation benefits significantly from phosphorus (P) fertilizer, particularly when applied as a starter. This approach enhances plant growth and yield. Starter fertilizer can be introduced in-furrow alongside the seeds, either as a supplement or alternative to pre-plant P applications.

It's vital to apply fertilizer cautiously with the seeds to prevent potential harm to seedlings. Air seeders distributing starter fertilizer and seeds in a 1- to 2-inch band, rather than a narrow seed slot, minimize the risk of injury.

Dry fertilizer sources like diammonium phosphate (DAP) or monoammonium phosphate (MAP) can be mixed directly with seeds in the hopper. These products contain ammonium-form nitrogen (N), which poses a lower risk of seedling damage compared to urea-N. Maintaining lower humidity in the mixture prevents gumming or caking.

Studies indicate that wheat seedlings can be exposed to DAP or MAP fertilizer for up to 12 days without harming crop establishment or yield.

While the primary advantage of in-furrow fertilizer is improved phosphorus availability, the minor N content in DAP, MAP, or 10-34-0 can also be beneficial. For instance, in scenarios with no pre-plant N application and minimal carryover N in the soil from the previous crop, the N in starter fertilizer can provide a valuable boost to early wheat seedling growth.

Overall, in-furrow fertilizer application represents a secure and efficient method to enhance wheat yields. By adhering to the provided guidelines, farmers can optimize the advantages of starter fertilizer without compromising seedling health.

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