Fall fertilizer application considerations
Applications of phosphorus, potassium, zinc and other non-mobile nutrients in the fall can be a good practice. If soil tests are low, planter starter band applications of these nutrients can provide good early plant growth, with the remainder of the recommended nutrients applied as broadcast applications. If soil tests are medium or higher, much if not all of the phosphorus can be applied as a starter seed band or broadcast. If fertilizer is applied with strip till, these bands should be at least 2 to 3 inches below the planting depth as the high concentrations of fertilizer salts can decrease germination. Therefore strip bands do not work well as a starter because of the deeper application depth.
Finally, determining the right nutrient and the right nutrient rate should be determined by a soil test and choosing a representable yield goal. For more information and determining a recommended nutrient rate see the SDSU Extension Fertilizer Recommendation guide.