In the fourth installment of our Agronomic Design principles blog series, we’re talking about giving plants every opportunity to maximize their potential through careful nutrient placement.
The biggest risk associated with plant food availability is financial.
“Commodity prices went down, our input costs have not gone down accordingly, so this is a time when we’re back at pushing the pencil to use the most efficient practices,” says Dr. George Rehm, a retiree from the University of Minnesota and Nutrient Management Specialist. He says timely and efficient application of key nutrients is essential to helping plants thrive.
What methods do you use to provide crops with essential nutrients?
“If we use these nutrients more efficiently, we could translate this into fertilizer savings of somewhere in the neighborhood of $20-$30 per acre.”
A growing trend in nutrient placement is banding – where liquid nutrients are applied directly into the soil. Dr. Rehm says this is especially beneficial for immobile nutrients, like potassium and phosphorus. Dave Long, Case IH Sales and Marketing Manager for pull-type fertilizer applicators, understands this trend and adds that even mobile nutrients, like nitrogen, can be used with this practice.
“One challenge we see in nutrient application is the amount of residue we leave on the soil surface. You want to put that nitrogen down in the soil where it needs to be captured and not on the soil surface where the nutrients can be lost.”
The Case IH Nutri-Placer 930 and 940 application toolbars use a combination of a high-residue coulter, a knife and shank assembly, along with a disk sealer to make your fields less susceptible to nutrient loss.
“Case IH equipment is built using Agronomic Design principles to help producers maximize their yield potential and their return on investment,” says Long. “The coulter, knife and sealer combination on the Nutri-Placer 930 and 940 minimizes nutrient loss, whereas competitive models using only a coulter face a 4-40 percent nitrogen loss. And all of our equipment has the ability to use integrated AFS precision farming technology so we can accurately place nutrients.”
“With the equipment that’s on the market now, we have the flexibility of applying that band in a number of positions relative to the row,” says Rehm. “In days gone by, we talked about starter bands and everybody talked about 2×2 placement – that’s not in vogue anymore. We can place that band of fertilizer within any position relative to the seed.”
Visit your local Case IH dealer to find out which nutrient applicator is best for your farm.