The health of your crop begins at seeding time. What fertilizer you place your seed with can make a huge difference. Traditional fertilizers like urea and anhydrous ammonia and MAP have high salt concentrations that when placed with the seed put the health of your newly planted crop at risk! Fertilizers with lower salt concentrations are recommended for direct seed placement. By placing a low salt fertilizer with your seed, you could increase seed germination & emergence rates and enhance seedling vigor giving your crop the leg up it needs in an often difficult environment.
How Higher Salt Fertilizers Affect Seed Growth
Fertilizers with high salt content can pose a serious threat to seedling growth. When fertilizers with high salt concentrations are applied too close to the seed, it can result in seed injury or death due to a lack of moisture. When the fertilizer’s salt content is higher than the natural salts found in the seed, osmotic pressure causes water to move from lower salt concentrations in the seedling to the higher concentrations in the fertilizer enriched soil. This negative reaction to the seed placed fertilizer can often be exacerbated in dry or cool soil solutions. In Western Canada, when is seeding time either not dry or cool?
What can you do to prevent this?
By choosing fertilizers with a lower salt index, plants have instant access to the nutrients they need. The seeds will have a quicker emergence rate compared to seeds using normal fertilizers. By using fertilizers with lower salt content, the plants appear healthier and produce a higher crop population with a lower mortality rate.
The chart below provides an example of the levels of salt in various fertilizers.
Source: A&L Labs
Precision agriculture technology including the ability to accurately place fertilizer with the seed has created the need for new and improved fertilizers that can be safely placed with the seed
Producers in Western Canada have placed mono-ammonium phosphate, commonly known as MAP or a blended fertilizer with MAP that usually includes urea with their seed for more than 50 years. In recent years new seeding equipment and precision ag technology have made it possible to precisely place fertilizer with the seed. All good, as research and experience, have proven fertilizer placed at or near the seed can demonstrate improved germination and emergence rates as well as, enhanced seedling vigor. However, when a fertilizer like MAP is placed directly with the seed, crop dependent, it can cause “seedling burn” and thereby negatively affect seedling performance. Precision agriculture technology including the ability to accurately place fertilizer with the seed has created the need for new and improved fertilizers that can be safely placed with the seed. Such a fertilizer would provide the right amount of N, P for optimal germination with a substantially lower salt index than anhydrous ammonia, urea, and MAP (or combinations thereof). If such a fertilizer also included several micronutrients that are often found to be limited during the early stages of crop establishment, it would no doubt be something that precision ag producers would want to investigate.
A specially designed fertilizer with a low salt concentration with the right amount of macronutrients (N-P-K) to get plants started (not supply all your macro needs) as well as, 7 other essential nutrients that are often limited during early crop development. To learn more about what TK-10 is, how it works, how much it costs and where to get it, view this 11-minute presentation by Rick Baldwin the Sales Manager for Top Krop Fertilizers.