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Monday, May 7, 2012

Broadcast or Band

A common question is whether to broadcast or band fertilizer.  The March-April issue of Crops and Soils magazine has a great article on the subject, unfortunately I cannot find a copy of the article on-line that is not passworded.  The title of the article is Band Vs. Broadcast: Understanding the Issue" by Dan Clarke and Byron Vaughan.  To summarize, Vaughan and Clarke say that banding makes sense in low fertility situations.  It can be useful to band starter fertilizers depending on the weather situations and crop.  I have sampled some fields that depended only on low rates of banded fertility for all the plant nutrient needs.  Soil test levels were very low in those fields.  I think Vaughan and Clarke sum it up best in this quote "band application is a short term solution for a financially distressed situation.  Long-term, the pounds of crop nutrients removed eventually have to be applied to prevent depleting the soil and lowering soil test levels." 

Another thing to keep in mind that banding can add time and labor at a time when those things are at a premium.  I have seen researchers showing a response to banded starter fertilizer in some cases and in some cases, no response.  Corn planted in cold wet soils seems to respond.  I have also seen heavy fertilizer loads on planters causing compaction.   

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