Fertilizer application before planting is an important step in the farming process. The practice is convenient and economically sound as well as common practice. Correct application of fertilizer provides important nutrients that can make all the difference in producing high quality crops.
Why Preplant Fertilizer Application is Important
There are many great reasons that it is important to fertilize appropriately before planting begins. Providing a nutrient rich soil at the time of planting will give crops a head start and help to ensure a fruitful harvest. Applying fertilizer before planting can lead to fewer seedlings being lost during growth, healthier and hardier plants, an improved crop yield, and better economic returns.
Applying fertilizer before planting allows for a more even application and eliminates risk to the plants being damaged by machinery. It also allows for the fertilizer to spread more evenly into the soil during tilling.
Tools and Equipment for the Job
There are two main methods by which fertilizer is spread during preplanting: banding and broadcasting. The types of farming equipment used is different for each method. Most types of the farming equipment required will be tractor mounted.
Fertilizer Band Placement Equipment
Tractor mounted band placement equipment is used when applying fertilizer in a band. Fertilizer is spread in long strips where crops will be planted. Some versions of these attachments will also till the soil as the fertilizer is placed which can save time and money in the long run. This type of equipment requires more precision when operating to ensure that the area that is fertilized is correctly matched to where crops will be planted.
Tractor Operated Fertilizer Disbursement Attachment
Tractor operated fertilizer disbursement attachments are designed with a single or double tank that will spread fertilizer in a wide, even coat over all of the soil. Disbursement is less exact than banding and reduces the likelihood of incorrect placement of the fertilizer.
Tips for Proper Application
There are a few things to keep in mind when applying fertilizer before planting begins. Several factors contribute to successfully fertilizing the soil.
· Getting a soil test report
· Sourcing the correct fertilizer
· Accurate placement
· Timing the application correctly
Before any fertilizer goes onto the soil, it is important to have the soil tested. The soil test report will provide information about nutrient concentration, soil texture, and will indicate what types of fertilizer should be applied. This will ensure that the proper combination of nutrients can be applied and avoid the concentration of any specific nutrient becoming too high and potentially toxic.
Primarily, the three nutrients that are applied during preplanting are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These are not the only nutrients that are important to the quality of the soil. Different soil types retain nutrients in different ways and will require different concentrations of these nutrients. It is important to understand the soil type before choosing what type of fertilizer to apply.
However, timing and location are vitally important. Unless the fertilizer is applied in the right place at the right time, all of the work will be fruitless.