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Increasing the Efficiency of Starter Fertilizer and Sidedress Applications

Making starter work harder.

Adequate phosphorus is essential for getting a crop off to a healthy, fast start. By placing starter fertilizer near the seed at planting, nutrients are present in the root zone and available to the seedling immediately after germination. Starter applications containing phosphorus can increase early season vigor and stress tolerance under adverse weather conditions.

Charlie Carter, SFP’s Texas Oklahoma Regional Account Manager explains, “If we encounter a late season cold snap, cotton and milo can appear stunted and growth will not resume until temperatures increase. In fields where starter fertilizer has been applied, we see a quicker recovery from cold weather.”

Carter adds, “Nutrient use efficiency does increase with starter applications due to fertilizer placement. However, phosphorus fertilizer can be rendered unavailable by locking up with elements in the soil, never reaching the plant’s root system.”

AVAIL® Phosphorus Fertilizer Enhancer improves the efficiency of applied starter fertilizers by blocking the chemical reactions that lock phosphorus into the soil, increasing its availability and protecting it throughout the growing season.

“In fields where AVAIL is added to a starter fertilizer mix, we see faster growth, a more established root system, and an overall healthier plant.” says Carter.

Managing Nitrogen at Sidedress.

Sidedressing nitrogen can be both a cost-effective and more efficient way of managing nitrogen.

“In Texas we do not apply all of our nitrogen early in the season. Holding back some nitrogen for later applications helps cut down on the amount of nitrogen that can potentially be lost early on. It also allows us to apply as little or as much as the crop needs when it needs it,” says Carter. 

Even with the benefits of sidedress applications, unpredictable temperatures and precipitation leave nitrogen vulnerable to loss whenever it’s applied. Managing nitrogen can increase the effectiveness of a sidedress application.

“Adding NutriSphere-N® Nitrogen Fertilizer Manager to sidedressed nitrogen protects it from leaching and volatilization, providing flexibility in timing of application and keeping more of it available to your crop,” says Carter. “With today’s high nitrogen prices, it’s important for grower’s to protect their fertilizer investment.”

To see research trials and learn more about AVAIL and NutriSphere-N visit or contact:

Charlie Carter                                    Reggie Underwood
[email protected]                              [email protected]
806-549-6349                                  214-914-2013