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Agronomy Update February 2018

Posted on February 12, 2018

The Andersons Agronomy Update: January 2018

By David Dyson, Agronomist

Prepay season seems to be winding down across the corn belt, but before the talk goes completely away from inputs, let’s have a discussion about additives in your starter. 

The term starter can have many meanings to many different growers. The reason we have to know if fertilizer is going in a 2x2 or an in furrow application is the fertilizer product will differ for each type. Some growers prefer to put on a high-volume, high-salt fertilizer at a distance of 2 inches down and 2 inches away from the seed. I prefer to see growers put a high-quality, low-salt fertilizer that can be readily available to the crop in furrow with the seed. We are trying to achieve 3 objectives with the application of a starter fertilizer:

  • Fast and uniform emergence
  • 4-7 days earlier pollination
  • 2-3 points dryer grain in the fall

Growers can achieve these objectives more efficiently and with less fill up when we use a high-quality, low-salt PureGrade liquid fertilizer product such as Season Pass® with AVAIL® or 6-24-6.

We are seeing more and more micronutrient and secondary nutrient deficiencies in our young corn crop, usually prior to V6. There are two main deficiencies that I see every spring, zinc (figure 1) and sulfur (figure 2). The reason we are seeing more zinc and sulfur shortages in our crops are twofold. First, as new hybrids are raising the yield potential, they are also mining more nutrients out of our soils. The crops are not only taking more N, P and K out of the soil, they are also using more micro and secondary nutrients. Secondly, the air is becoming cleaner. This is good news for breathing, but bad news for growers relying on pollutants to deliver nutrients to the soil. 

Zinc and Sulfur Deficiencies in Corn Plants

Using the starter to deliver micronutrients to the young seedling is the most effective delivery method. Placing a concentrated band of nutrients in furrow will increase the probability of roots intercepting these nutrients. I cannot emphasize the importance of root interception enough. Slow early root development due to early planting in cold, wet soils and the highly immobile nature of micronutrients in the soil, makes root interception very critical.

In conclusion, balanced nutrition is as important for plants as it is for humans. I recommend PureGrade liquid fertilizers SeasonPass with AVAIL or 6-24-6 with the addition of MicroCarb ® starter fertilizer in furrow to help deliver key macro, secondary and micronutrients to the seedlings. Sulfur is needed for chlorophyll production and protein formation; zinc for leaf growth and root development; manganese for chlorophyll production and nitrogen utilization; and boron for proper cell division, carbohydrate use and water utilization. Balanced nutrition also helps increase a young plant’s ability to deal with stress from environmental and pest pressures. The stronger the seedling, the better the chance for a strong crop. A lack of any one of the micronutrients in the soil can limit growth, even when all other nutrients are present in adequate amounts (Figure 3).

Soil Conditions and Other Growth Factors

Source: soils.wisc.edu/facstaff/barak/soilscience326/lawofmin.ht



By Dani Kusner, Agronomist


Zinc in row starters - MicroCarb has a new formulation!

Adding Zinc to your starter fertilizer is easy with our MicroCarb micronutrient package containing zinc, manganese and boron. MicroCarb is also formulated with fulvic acid – the smallest particle size of all humic acids. Nutrients applied with fulvic acid have increased efficacy to get into the crop quicker, and are held in a more stable form for a longer period of time, reducing the risk of loss due to leaching or volatilization.  In 2017, we improved our formulation of MicroCarb to be lighter in color and smoother in consistency for improved tank-mixing. 

Old formulation (left) and new formulation (right).


In trials with our new, improved MicroCarb added to 5 gallons of GoldStart 6-24-6 on corn, MicroCarb increased yields by 3.6 bushels. All treatments received the equivalent of 200 lbs of nitrogen per acre.



0.1 B, 0.5 Mn, 0.75 Zn



Please complete the form, and we’ll get you in touch with your Territory Manager from The Andersons. 

©2018 The Andersons, Inc. All rights reserved. The Andersons logo, PureGrade, GoldStart, Season Pass, and MicroCarb are registered trademarks of The Andersons, Inc. AVAIL is a registered trademark of Verdesian Life Sciences.

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