Nothing has changed for those who now use or plan to use a conservation tillage planting system. This can be ridge-till, strip-till, no-till or any combination of these three. Placement of phosphate and/or potash in a band below the future row is one of the keys to success for any of these planting systems. For most of Minnesota, it is most practical to apply this band in the fall. Banding in the spring is a viable option if soil texture is a loam, sandy loam or a silt loam. In an ideal world, this band should be at a depth of 4-5m inches. The band should be placed, if at all possible, within 3 inches of the future row. This is a challenge that can be achieved when the conservation tillage planting systems are used. The use of a deep band can and should be complimented with a band of approximately 3 gallons of 10-34-0 as a pop-up at planting. This pop-up placement is now used by a majority of farmers in Minnesota.
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Options are more varied for those who do not use conservation tillage systems. Soil test values should be the first consideration. Using current University of Minnesota guidelines, broadcast applications of phosphate and potash are not needed in a fertilizer program for corn if the soil test value for phosphorus (P) is higher than 20 ppm as measured by the Bray procedure or 16 ppm if measured by the Olsen test. For soil test potassium, the cutoff value is 160 ppm. Even at these high values, use of a pop-up would still be a good management practice – especially if corn is to follow corn. Many fields have been sampled this summer and this fall would be an excellent time to take a hard look at use of a broadcast application. This application may not be needed for next year’s corn crop.
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