Keeton Seed Firmer

In-Furrow Systems Boost Nutrient Efficiency, Protect Seedlings

Many no-tillers find placing fertilizer, insecticides and other products directly in the seed furrow helps their crops get off to a healthier, faster start while being more efficient with their fertilizer rates.

The “right place” in the 4Rs of Nutrient Stewardship may be listed last, but with the phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) runoff issues that agriculture is facing today, it’s certainly top of mind.

One placement option that is gaining more traction is applying fertilizers — along with insecticides, fungicides, micronutrients, plant growth regulators, biologicals and other liquid products — directly in the seed furrow.

It’s a trend wholesale farm inputs distributor West Central picked up on, which is why it partnered with BASF Corp., FMC and Nufarm to launch LIFT — Leaders of In-Furrow Technology — a program focused on addressing the challenges of achieving strong seedling emergence and vigor by educating retailers and growers about in-furrow application.

With more in-furrow formulations and equipment to deliver these products coming out, no-tillers may want to examine their planting practices and determine if such a system could be a valuable addition to their operations.

Fast Start

Why consider applying fertilizer and other products directly in the seed furrow? Fred Below says it’s all about trying to get the seeds off to the best possible start.

“Seeds are expensive,” the University of Illinois plant physiologist says. “If the seeds don’t emerge uniformly they fall behind. My concept is ‘no plant left behind.’ I like to have rapid, even emergence and fast growth right from the very beginning. That’s what sets the potential for high yields.”

He adds that with growers planting earlier and faster, an in-furrow system may help put the seed in…

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Laura allen

Laura Barrera

Laura Barrera is the former managing editor of No-Till Farmer and Conservation Tillage Guide magazines. Prior to joining No-Till Farmer, she served as an assistant editor for a greenhouse publication. Barrera holds a B.A. in magazine journalism from Ball State University.

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