Phosphorus (P)-based starter fertilizer can increase corn grain yield and test weight, North Dakota State University research shows.

That finding is the result of a decade of NDSU phosphorus-based starter fertilizer trials in east-central North Dakota. The trials evaluated corn response primarily with liquid 10-34-0 applied using different methods and rates.

NDSU corn fertilizer research can benefit producers. (NDSU photo)

Here are some highlights of the research:

  • Starter fertilizer increased corn grain yield 4-5%, compared with untreated corn, on soils generally testing low to medium for P. Plant population and yield were similar with band-applied (2 inches horizontally from seed) and in-furrow application of 10-34-0 at 2.5 to 6 gallons per acre.
  • Yield was similar when 10-34-0 was applied in-furrow at rates of 3 and 6 gallons per acre.
  • Yield did not improve with split applications of 10-34-0 using band plus in-furrow placement, compared with similar rates of only band- or in-furrow-applied fertilizer.
  • Deep-band (5-6 inches deep, fall or spring placed) or deep-band plus in-furrow-applied 10-34-0 resulted in yields that were similar to yields from band-applied fertilizer at planting time.
  • Plant population and yield were similar when in-furrow 10-34-0 and the low-salt fertilizer 6-24-6 was applied.

More information about this research is available in an NDSU Extension Service publication, “Corn Response to Phosphorus Starter Fertilizer in North Dakota.” It’s available online at

A printed version is available from the Carrington Research Extension Center or NDSU Extension county offices.

“The published research summary should assist North Dakota farmers as they make corn plant nutrition plans for the upcoming crop season,” says Greg Endres, an NDSU Extension cropping systems specialist at the Carrington Research Extension Center.

Visit for general recommendations on corn plant nutrition.