Renewable Farming

How in-furrow fertility triggers crops into a vigorous start

In-furrow fertility offers one of the most consistently favorable cost-return ratios.

And it’s easy to trickle nutrients, biological inoculants, and WakeUP in-furrow behind the seed with your planter. The per-acre volume isn’t high, so you don’t slow down the planter much at all.

It’s also one of the easiest techniques to test and refine. You can typically see differences in performance right to the row. 

We’ve rigged our little 6-row strip planter to test two types of in-furrow mix, so we can alternate six rows with each variation. 

One of our clients with a 16-row planter sent us the yield monitor map shown below. (He asked us to withhold his name… something about not wanting to appear like he was bragging about a 190-bu. corn yield average on 150 acres of highly variable soil where half the field is pocked with sandy patches. This is in northwest Iowa, but not the best ground.

He wanted to show us the vivid streak which emerged on the yield map when he shut off the in-furrow mix. In that strip without in-furrow nutrition, the corn yield dropped about 40 bushels. That sounds extreme, but we’ve seen the same response in some of our lower-fertility fields.

The yellow strip on the left edge of the field indicates 16, 30-inch rows without the in-furrow mix, which was a blend of:

16 ounces of a microbial stimulant called Generate, from Agnition.  ($8 per acre)

20 grams per acre of a beta-test plant growth stimulant we’re experimenting with, called Ligniton. (Estimate about $1.50 per acre; retail price not established yet)

3 ounces of WakeUP.  (For in-furrow use, we recommend WakeUP Spring.) ($2.50 per acre)

2 gallons of liquid 9-18-9 starter fertilizer purchased locally. ($8 per acre)

So for around $20 per acre ingredient costs and no extra trips over the field, the gross return was somewhere between 30 and 40 bu. per acre.  Scroll down the see the map legend. 

Our theory on the excellent response is that the roots of emerging corn immediately found that balanced NPK, and the WakeUP enhanced mobilization. Also, the Generate would have encouraged rapid growth of beneficial bacteria and mycorrhiza near the emerging roots. Finally, the Lignition would swiftly become systemic, amplifying all the other “systems” of nutrient translocation and more effective chlorophyll performance.   So it doesn’t take a lot of fertility early. 

Check strip on left side yielded about 40 bu. lower than adjoining rows