Growers facing wet spring conditions are looking to starter fertilizer to help ensure plants get off to a strong start. Starters provide a great tool for accelerating plant development in cool, wet soils, which is particularly important for corn.

Benefits of a starter program:

  • Gives crops an extra boost to help increase early plant growth, nutrient uptake and yields
  • Early growth response can result in earlier flowering or crop maturity
  • Crops including corn and grain sorghum generally respond to starter fertilizers containing phosphorus (P) with increased early growth; this results in larger plants of more uniform size
  • Growth response may occur on sandy soils when proper rates of nitrogen and sulfur are used, even if the soils have high P levels
  • The addition of a fertilizer enhancer and/or manager can help further stimulate nutrient uptake by ensuring the nutrients in starter are available for the plant to use

During the spring, nutrients can be susceptible to multiple forms of loss, and they also may be tied up in the soil. Fertilizer enhancers such as AVAIL Phosphorus Fertilizer Enhancer from SFP can help increase nutrient uptake by the plant, and AVAIL is proven particularly beneficial for growers utilizing a starter fertilizer program.

Click here to watch J. Larry Sanders, Ph.D., discuss the importance of starter fertilizers

Key facts:

  •  Up to 75-to-95 percent of applied phosphorus fertilizer never makes it to the crops’ roots. Instead, it is tied up in the soil by elements such as calcium, iron, aluminum and magnesium
  • AVAIL works in the microenvironment surrounding the P molecule (liquid or dry) to create a shield, protecting P from positively charged elements such as calcium, magnesium, aluminum and iron that tie up P; in turn, providing greater P availability to the plant
  • Research proves AVAIL works to increase yield:
    • From 2002-2010, data collected from approximately 75 AVAIL starter fertilizer trials, including many by universities, independent researchers and on-farm, showed an average 7.8 bu./A yield increase (2x2 and in-furrow liquid starter applications)

Take-home story:
Starter fertilizers can give crops an extra boost to help increase early plant growth, nutrient uptake and yields.