Maximize Your Phosphorus Placement

Input costs for fertilizer, an absolute necessity, can be staggering. Here’s how to ensure you get the biggest bang for your phosphorus buck.

Fertilizer placement draws a lot of opinions about everything from when to apply to the depth of application. The many, sometimes conflicting opinions can be confusing about which to follow.

Thank goodness for Paul Jasa

This agricultural engineer at the University of Nebraska is one of no-till’s biggest advocates. After taking a good, hard look at phosphorus placement and distribution, Jasa believes that many of the conceptions about phosphorus are myths, while the facts are more interesting and profitable. Based on years of university research and a solid foundation in the principles of agronomics, Jasa spells out the cold, hard facts about phosphorus distribution.

The Myth Of Incorporation

“We till it in, field cultivate it and chisel plow phosphorus because we’re told that it’s not good for the environment to leave it on the surface,” he says. “A lot of producers still think you need to incorporate it. However, I’ve measured phosphorus moving deeper into the soil with continuous no-till than with chiseling or discing.”

Jasa says the hesitation many growers have today comes from the idea of giving up incorporated herbicides. “Rainfall incorporates my surface-applied herbicides far more uniformly than I could till them in,” he says.

Broadcast Versus Banding. In a study done by the University of Nebraska, broadcast phosphorus was compared to banded phosphorus. The broadcast in no-till outperformed the banded. “Their conclusion was that broadcast with a wet layer was still a horizontal band when it came to tieing up with soil,” Jasa explains. “So nutrients…

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