What Does Seedplaced Fertilizer Injury Look Like?

Submitted by John Heard, Soil Fertility Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

Already we are hearing of spotty emergence with cereal crops in Manitoba.  Possible culprits may be dry seedbeds, poor quality seed, seed depth, herbicide residues, or seed placed fertilizer injury.Past Prairie studies suggested a 15% stand reduction was tolerable for cereals since surviving plants tillered and filled in the stand.  But maturity is less uniform and is delayed up to 4 days.
How might one confirm seedplaced fertilizer injury?  Close inspection can show a range of symptoms:
1.        Seeds that imbibed water but did not develop any root or shoot
2.       Seeds that developed shoots but no roots
3.       Seeds that developed root and shoot but leafed out below ground
4.       Those that did germinate and emerge (about 44%) were ½ to 1 full leaf stage behind normal seedlings in the low fertilizer strip.
In other crops injury can show as:
Canola – seeds just do not germinate and remain intact.   Fields simply appear to have very poor crop establishment.
Soybeans – stands may be injured, especially with wider row spacing and on sandy soils under dry conditions.
For more information, see the full .pdf document on Manitoba Agriculture Current Crop Topics – What Does Seedplaced Fertilizer Injury look like in Cereals
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Spring Preplant Banded nitrogen Too Hot for Corn in Dry Springs!

Submitted by: John Heard, Manitoba Agriculture, Soil Fertility Specialist
There is no single best way to fertilize corn in Manitoba.  The 4 most common N application methods are spring broadcast and incorporated, fall banded, banded at seeding and preplant banded.
In a dry spring like 2018,  broadcasting and incorporating fertilizer before seeding, risk drying out the seedbed.  Many farmers, especially on clay-textured soils prefer not to disturb their seedbed in the spring and so prefer to fall band their N.  And although spring preplant banding is a very efficient way to place nutrients for a corn crop, it comes with some particular cautions – thinning and seedling injury.  
More detailed information and analysis in full .pdf
More topics on soil fertility can be found on Manitoba Agriculture’s Soil Fertility webpages.
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Can Sidebanded Nitrogen Cause Injury in a Dry Year?

Submitted by: John Heard, Manitoba Agriculture, Soil Fertility Specialist

With a lack of seedbed moisture, there are justified concerns about seedplaced fertilizer injury to canola and other crops.  How safe is sidebanded nitrogen? Research studies by  Dr. Cindy Grant documented considerable canola stand thinning when high rates of sidebanded urea or UAN solution were applied.  Agrotain (AT) served to reduce stand injury, but is no longer supported for this use by the manufacturer. 

Points:
  • Stands were thinned at even modest N rates, on a clay loam soil.  At high rates stands were reduced to 50%
  • Crop growth compensated for reduced stands and generally produced as good a yield as the Agrotain protected stands, except at the highest rate.
For more detailed analysis and discussion on the issue see the full .pdf
More topics on soil fertility can be found on Manitoba Agriculture’s Soil Fertility webpages.
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Seed Placed Fertilizer Cautions for Canola

Submitted by: John Heard, Manitoba Agriculture, Soil Fertility Specialist

Spring 2018 has brought many questions about seedplaced fertilizer rates for canola.  Several factors are causing concern:

  • Drier soils – which increase the risk of seed toxicity
  • Desire to apply sufficient P to meet crop removal – since many fields have seen decreasing P levels due to high yield.  P removal is about 1 lb P2O5/bu, so high yield potential fields are looking at high P replacement rates.
  • Increased use in low disturbance, low seedbed utilization (SBU) drills.  Many new openers are arriving on the scene, which are “close-to-seed” sidebanding for which one may need to consider as seedplaced.
  • Desire by growers to reduce seeding rates for cost savings.  Most research studies investigating seedplaced fertilizer injury were seeded at some 150 seed/m2, about double what some farmers are now targeting.
For more detailed analysis on the issue, see the full text in .pdf format 
 
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Seed Placed Fertilizer – Safe Rates

A reminder that if seedbeds turn dry, the safety margin shrinks when applying seed placed fertilizer.  Seedburn can result from ammonia toxicity and/or salt content of fertilizers.

For nitrogen, our Soil Fertility Guide provided safe guidelines for seed placed urea on cereals and canola across a range of soil types and seed-fertilizer configurations.  With the increased popularity of narrow seed and fertilizer spreads with disk drills, the safe rates are reduced.  For example, safe urea rates for cereals vary from 10 to 25 lb N/ac going from sand to clay soil using disk openers on 6” row spacing.  These guidelines are for moist soil and should be reduced by 50% if seedbed moisture is lower when weather is hot and windy.

The safe rates of seed placed phosphorus depends on the crop, with cereals being quite tolerant compared to soybeans, dry beans and canola.  With a disk drill as described above, cereals can tolerate 50 to 60 lb P2O5/ac as mono ammonium phosphate while rates would be 20 lbs/ac for canola and less for beans.   If there greater seedbed utilization (i.e. narrower rows or a wider seedrow with less fertilizer concentration) rates could be more liberal.

More on these safe rates of fertilizer is posted on Manitoba Agriculture’s website at: http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/crops/soil-fertility/print,safe-rates-of-seed-placed-phosphorus-for-manitoba–narrow-row-and-row-crops.html

 

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Dry soils and soybean tolerance for starter fertilizer

Most farmers and agronomists should be very aware of the extensive Manitoba research that applied phosphorus fertilizer does not increase soybean yield.  However, phosphorus replenishment of soil with P is important.

Some farmers may still will wish to add some starter fertilizer with soybeans, since in this study (Phosphorus Fertilization Beneficial Management Practices for Soybeans in Manitoba), the seed placement of phosphorus only reduced stands significantly in 7 of 28 sites (1 in 4 cases).  Before growers jump to the conclusion that soybeans tolerate high rates of fertilizer with the seed, let’s review these cases:

  • In almost all cases, soybeans were seeded in moist to wetter soils – as soon as soils were fit to allow traffic.  Row spacing ranged from 7-12” with knife or disk openers.
  • The 7 cases of stand damage highlighted the risk factors:
    • 3/7 = disk openers with row spacings of 12” (so low seedbed utilization)
    • 3/7 = sandy soils (less water holding capacity and buffering)
    • 1/7 = dry seedbed (higher risk)

Our traditional safe seedplaced fertilizer guideline for soybeans is no fertilizer for rows wider than 15”, and up to 10 lb P2O5/ac when seeded in narrower rows.  These limits may even be too high when soils are drying as at present.  We do not expect any advantage to this seedplaced P, so the safest option is to avoid any with the seed.

Again – a review of risk factors for seedplaced P:

  • Soil moisture:  dry = riskier
  • Sol texture: sandy = riskier
  • Seed opener:  narrow or disk = riskier
  • Row spacing: wider = riskier
  • Fertilizer rate: more = riskier

These factors are all considered in the  Seed Placed Fertilizer Decision Aid posted at https://www.ipni.net/toolbox

Submitted by:  John Heard, Crop Nutrition Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

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Preplant Banding Ammonia & Urea in Corn

A very efficient placement method for rates of nitrogen that can’t be placed at seeding is the preplant band. Despite the popularity of direct or one-pass seeding this is still used in crops where some pre-plant tillage is done – like for corn.

The past few years, more often in dry springs, I have seen stand thinning using this practice. When the corn row falls directly over the N band (be it ammonia or urea), seedlings are injured, stunted and sometimes killed. This leaves a repeating pattern in an angle across the field.

There are some standard guidelines if using this practice:

  • Stand thinning may occur where the seed row intersects the N band. Band N on an angle so that it intersects just a short length of row.  OR if the injection placement can be controlled with accurate GPS guidance positioning technology, split with the future corn row.  Six inch separation should be sufficient.
  • Place the nitrogen deep. Banding at 3” depth may be sufficient for slot closure and N retention in the soil – but this will only be an inch or so below the seed. The original guideline calls for 4” vertical separation of injection point and seed.
  • The toxicity will be worse under dry conditions and on sandier soils.
  • Waiting a certain period of time offers only a slight increase in safety.  Injury can still occur even if planting is delayed for a considerable period of time.
  • Increasing plant populations to account for such thinning will not eliminate the appearance of gaps in the row.

Figure 1 is of corn thinning over a preplant urea band.

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Figure 1: Corn thinning over a preplant urea band (Photo by John Heard, Manitoba Agriculture)

Figure 2 is of corn seedling based on their proximity in intersecting the shallow placed preplant ammonia band.

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Figure 2: Impact of shallow placed preplant ammonia band on corn seedlings (Photo by John Heard, Manitoba Agriculture)

Submitted by: John Heard, Crop Nutrition Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

Follow Manitoba Agriculture on:
Twitter: @MBGovAg
YouTube: www.youtube.com/ManitobaAgriculture

 

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Safe Liquid Fertilizer Rates for Corn

Much of Manitoba’s corn receives liquid phosphorus as a starter in the seedrow.  But we cannot apply sufficient amounts with the seed to meet full crop removal (about 44 lb P2O5/ac for a 100 bu/ac crop).  The safe amount of seed placed fertilizer depends upon soil type, moisture, row spacing and seed furrow opening.  Ontario guidelines base the safe rates of fertilizer on N and K content of the starter fertilizer.  For 30 inch rows no more than 10 lb N/ac should be seedplaced – enough to provide 34 lb P2O5/ac of 10-34-0 liquid fertilizer or 8.5 US gal per acre.  But based on South Dakota  studies such rates could cause stand thinning of 4-9% depending on soil moisture and texture. Most farmers will not be pushing starter rates this high as they should have the bulk of their P needs met through a safer placement strategy.

More on these safe rates of fertilizer is posted on Manitoba Agriculture’s website at: http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/crops/soil-fertility/print,safe-rates-of-seed-placed-phosphorus-for-manitoba–narrow-row-and-row-crops.html

Submitted by: John Heard, Crop Nutrition Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

 

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Safe Rates of Seed Placed Fertilizer – Cereals & Canola

A reminder that if seedbeds turn dry, the safety margin shrinks when applying seed placed fertilizer.  Seedburn can result from ammonia toxicity and/or salt content of fertilizers.

For nitrogen, our Soil Fertility Guide provided safe guidelines for seed placed urea on cereals and canola across a range of soil types and seed-fertilizer configurations.  With the increased popularity of narrow seed and fertilizer spreads with disk drills, the safe rates are reduced.  For example, safe urea rates for cereals vary from 10 to 25 lb N/ac going from sand to clay soil using disk openers on 6” row spacing.  These guidelines are for moist soil and should be reduced by 50% if seedbed moisture is lower when weather is hot and windy.

The safe rates of seed placed phosphorus depends on the crop, with cereals being quite tolerant compared to soybeans, dry beans and canola.  With a disk drill as described above, cereals can tolerate 50 to 60 lb P2O5/ac as mono ammonium phosphate while rates would be 20 lbs/ac for canola and less for beans.   If there greater seedbed utilization (i.e. narrower rows or a wider seedrow with less fertilizer concentration) rates could be more liberal.

More on these safe rates of fertilizer is posted on Manitoba Agriculture’s website at: http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/crops/soil-fertility/print,safe-rates-of-seed-placed-phosphorus-for-manitoba–narrow-row-and-row-crops.html

Submitted by:  John Heard, Crop Nutrition Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

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Watch Seed Placed Fertilizer Rates!

Submitted by: John Heard, MAFRI Crop Nutrition Specialist

Soil moisture conditions vary widely across the province.  Those seeding into dry soils should be aware of the increased risk of damage to germination and establishment.  Placing fertilizer with the seed is a choice of compromises – crop response to added nutrients and ease of application versus stand injury.  Phosphorus is the nutrient of top priority to reserve for seed placement.  Others such as nitrogen and sulphur have flexibility in soil movement and can be placed elsewhere.  For more specifics on safe placed fertilizer rates see:

 http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/crops/soil-fertility/safe-rates-of-seed-placed-phosphorus-for-manitoba–narrow-row-and-row-crops.html

 http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/crops/soil-fertility/seed-placed-nitrogen-fertilizer—a–second-opinion-please.html

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