The phosphorus, sulfur and zinc boost in the University of Illinois research was supplied by 250 pounds/acre of a 12-40-0-10S-1zinc fertilizer. The fertilizer used in the test, MicroEssentials SZ, from Mosaic, was banded 4-6 inches below the row at planting.

Subsurface banding may help improve nutrient uptake, says Below. The fertilizer formulation, which fuses a blend of nutrients in each granule, may also contribute to improved uptake and season-long sulfur availability, according to the manufacturer.

“Our approach is to feed the plant, not the soil,” says Below. “Feeding the soil is probably not going to get you to 300-bushel corn. Fertilizer sources that supply nutrients at the rate and time that match corn nutritional needs are critical for optimizing nutrient use and yield.”

Below says the “booster” fertilizer application rate used in the research trials, which supplies 100 pounds/acre of P2O5, 25 pounds/acre of sulfur and 2.5 pounds per acre of zinc, would be sufficient for corn with a yield goal of 230 bushels per acre. For a 300 bushels per acre yield, he recommends bumping rates 25% to 30%.