Soil moisture levels and seed quality are two factors to monitor when applying starter fertilizer, Farm Journal field agronomist Ken Ferrie tells Corn College TV Season 3. For example, a field planted hours after a light vertical till pass can leave seeds in dry soil, preventing germination.
"When you’re using a field cultivator or soil finisher, you’re kind of mixing them all in," Ferrie says in Episode 3. "It’s a little bit different than if you’re using more of a vertical format, and you have to make sure that the water levels come back together."
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Growers should also examine their corn seeds before planting and applying starter fertilizer. Seeds damaged at the embryo axis can be killed by starter, and dry soils heighten the risk of problems.
"Whether you’re using a low-salt starter or regular starter, if you’re putting it in the furrow and you’re out of moisture, shut it off, " Ferrie says.
Watch Episode 3 of Corn College TV Season 3 to learn more about starter fertilizer. Click here to register for 2013 Corn College events this summer.