Adequate fertilization is always an important issue, especially in high-yield environments. With the use of modern hybrids along with other innovative agricultural advances, yields continue to rise and plants suffer less under extreme precipitation and temperature conditions.
Advancements of high-yielding corn production bring the expectation of superior quality and increased yield. To help achieve high yields, nutrients must be applied at optimal levels to avoid deficiency while maintaining manageable input costs. Even short-term deficiencies, especially early in the growing season, can result in significant yield reductions.
Why’s P so important?
Phosphorus (P) is a vital component throughout the plant growth process – for ALL plants. Adequate P directly correlates with increased root growth and leaf expansion – all necessary for healthy, early-season growth. Uptake of applied P fertilizer can be low during the year of application; often plants use as little as 25 percent of the total application due to P tie-up in the soil. For farms across Tennessee, AVAIL® Phosphorus Fertilizer Enhancer, a P-efficiency product from SFP, has shown to increase uptake by reducing P tie-up in the soil.
“Since we started adding AVAIL to our phosphorus fertilizer, tissue and soil samples are showing more phosphate uptake in the plant,” says Corey Trout, who farms corn, grass hay, wheat hay and alfalfa in Holts Corner, Tenn. “We used to cut 26 inches of alfalfa every 30 to 32 days; now, with the AVAIL technology, we can cut 32 inches of alfalfa every 26 days; we’ve experienced better leaf retention, and disease seems to be a lot less severe.”
Fall P Fertilization + Corn
For most, spring is a busy time on the farm; that, paired with the season’s unpredictable weather, can make it difficult to apply fertilizer. Applying P in the fall helps ration the workload throughout the year and AVAIL helps to ensure P is available for corn crops the following spring.
“In this part of the country, it’s tough to predict what Mother Nature has in store for us. Anything we can do to protect our fertilizer investment is worth investigating,” says Trout. “Our corn crop has a higher drought tolerance due to better root penetration from using AVAIL.”
In many environments, fall fertilization is an advantage to corn cropping systems. Modern agricultural innovations continue to give growers the ability to produce higher yields while maximizing resources and nutrients. Despite weather variables, efficient applied-nutrient use can save a crop. In bad years or good years, adequate essential elements – if made available to the crop – will help the grower stay ahead.