When it comes to growing crops, you quite literally reap what you sow. You can’t expect to meet or exceed a high yield goal if you haven’t put proper thought into your fertility plan.
A good fertility plan provides crops with the nutrition they need throughout the growing season, as opposed to just one part. Applying all of your nutrition at one time is the equivalent of eating just one meal a day, and the crops will suffer because of it.
The best way to achieve a solid ROI on your fertilizer purchases is to make sure that you’re taking a balanced approach to nutrition, instead of just focusing on one or two nutrients at a single application timing.
Concentrating on a couple of key nutrients (P, N) but ignoring the rest (Zn, Mn, Cu, Fe, B) can cause crops to experience deficiencies that are detrimental to crop growth and drastically reduce yield potential.
For example, if you spend the money to apply enough nitrogen on your corn for a yield goal of 200 bushels, but your crop spends two weeks in the spring growing slowly and showing signs of zinc deficiency, that crop will likely never reach the yield goal due to the days it lost while it was struggling.
It’s a waste of money to focus solely on applying one or two nutrients, because another nutrient could limit yields due to the fact that it is either in short supply or tied up in the soil and unavailable to the crop. An effective, well-thought-out fertility plan will feed the crop all year and maximize the return on dollars that were spent on fertilizer.
Being conscientious on the front end of planting will provide an insurance policy throughout the season, and help get those great results at harvest.