Strip-tillers tend to be particularly conscious of when, where and how much fertilizer they apply to promote long-term yield consistency. Some prefer to broadcast potash, while others see the benefits of deep-placement of phosphorus and potassium beneath the strip.
Regardless of strategy, strip-tillers don’t like to see these nutrients go to waste. Last month, our sister publication Farm Equipment presented a webinar featuring Jodi Dejong-Hughes, regional extension educator with the University of Minnesota, who talked about the benefits of strip-till, along with tips on how dealers can better serve your needs.
One attendee asked how comfortable farmers should be with building phosphorus levels in a strip-till system. He was concerned that creating a band of immobile nutrients would skew soil tests. The ag industry needs to develop better ways to accurately measure carry-over nutrient levels in strip-till, he added.
One way to manage carryover phosphorus, DeJong-Hughes says, is to rotate strips, moving 15 inches over in a 30-inch system — especially if you’re growing corn-on-corn. Continuous corn can remove more phosphorus from the soil than soybeans, leading to faster depletion of nutrients. Another factor to consider is pH levels in the soil, she says.
“I don’t mind phosphorus being banked in the soil, but if you have a high-pH soil (7.5 or higher), it could be tied up within 3 to 4 months,” DeJong-Hughes says. “If your are in neutral pH soils, phosphorus becomes more available and you can bank it better.”
Building phosphorus levels can also be an expensive endeavor. “I’m more of the philosophy of just feed the plant,” she says.
What is your philosophy when it comes to banking phosphorus in strip-till? Share your thoughts by calling me at (262) 782-4480, ext. 441, or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.