Do your homework before using one-pass planting application

Plant SK

Highlights

  • In an ideal situation put fertilizer down in the fall
  • Be cognizant of soil moisture and texture as well as row space and opener equipment
  • Moisture can also hurt the fertilizer effectiveness
  • It's important to know the product being applied

There's a lot of work to be done during this year's planting season before planting can begin.

One pass application

Once the crop is cleared, many may consider using a one-pass application of fertilizer and seed to help speed up the process, reduce cost and soil compaction. However, a senior agronomist with Agrium urges producers to do their homework first.

Ray Dowbenko says in an ideal situation, producers should put fertilizer down in the fall, which in a lot of cases wasn't an option this time around with the late harvest.

During one-pass application, if it isn't done right, there's a risk of seed injury when nitrogen is in close proximity to the seed, either through a salt-effect or a free ammonia effect.

During one-pass application, if it isn't done right, there's a risk of seed injury.

"A salt-effect is a competition for moisture between the fertilizer needing moisture to dissolve and the seed itself needing moisture to germinate," Dowbenko says.

He says a free-ammonia effect can also happen when the urea fertilizer granule converts into ammonium and eventually nitrate.

"There's a brief period where free ammonia is given off and that can be damaging in terms of burning the seed," he says.

Soil moisture

Dowbenko says producers need to be cognizant of soil moisture and texture, as well as equipment in terms of row space and type of opener.

"There are safe rate guidelines in the Prairie provinces for how much fertilizer-nitrogen can be applied with various crops based on the soil types, texture, organic matter, soil pH levels, moisture and certainly the equipment," Dowbenko says.

He says moisture can also hurt the fertilizer effectiveness, which is why it's important to know the product being applied.  

From an FCC Express article by Craig Lester