30 Jan 2007

Fall Fertilization

As the calendar turns to fall each year, most farmers and their advisers are preoccupied with harvest and all the related priorities that go with it. Of course that’s important, but fall is also prime-time to address some economic and management questions on crop and forage nutrition, tillage systems, fertilizer placement options, soil testing, and other practices.

A series of six new, seasonal topics from the Potash & Phosphate Institute (PPI) provides some observations and pointers that can help. Prepared by PPI Regional Directors in North America, these articles are offered as PDF files which can be printed or adapted for further use. Here’s a summary of what’s available. To access any of these, just click on the title.

Questions Worth Answering about Your Soil Testing Program
Most everyone agrees that soil testing makes sense. But it’s also wise to understand the interpretation approach…for example, sufficiency or build-maintenance…that is used to convert soil test levels to fertilizer recommendations. This article, in question/answer format, tags several points to consider before samples are sent to the lab and after the results are returned.

Prices Change—Balanced Fertility Needs Remain the Same
Crop production conditions have certainly changed over the past few years and will continue to evolve as we move forward. Sometimes the more dramatic changes, especially the negative ones, can produce a measure of shock and consternation. We must remember though…one thing that doesn’t change is the crop’s need for adequate and balanced fertility.

Forage Fertility…Planning for 2007
Using fertilizer to restore the productivity of established forage crop stands pays major dividends, with the proper balance of all the essential nutrients critical to maximizing yields. Soil testing is key to ensuring that multi-nutrient deficiencies are addressed in fertilizer management programs.

Soybean Nutrition and Pest Management Implications
It has been widely known for some years that high soil fertility levels and good plant nutrition lead to higher soybean yields. But did you know that proper plant nutrition can help reduce susceptibility to incidence and severity of a number of soybean pest problems?

Nutrient Placement in Reduced Tillage Systems: Considerations
Nutrient stratification in reduced tillage systems, along with cooler early spring soil temperatures and higher soil moisture, can mean profitable crop responses to banded applications of N, P, and sometimes K near the seed. Midwest research indicates that placement of bands deeper in the soil produces more consistent benefits for K than for P.

Fall-Applied Nitrogen in the Corn Belt: Questions and Answers for Corn
Risks involved with fall N application for corn can be described as logistical, agronomic, environmental, and economic. This article reviews these factors based on 2006 conditions.

Other resources on fall fertilization considerations for crops and forages: