Strategically placed nutrients help soybeans planted early




More and more soybean growers, such as Starkey, are putting fertilizers and crop protection products in the furrow when planting, said Mike Staton, soybean educator at Michigan State University (MSU). This is in part in response to the growing trend to sow soybeans early – before or at the same time as corn – to increase yields.

The more time soybean plants have to absorb light stimulates vegetative growth. This usually means more flowering, more knots, more pods, and more soybeans. A multi-state study, “Benchmarking Soybean Production Systems in the North Central US,” indicates that soybean yields decline 0.2 to 0.5 bushel per acre per day when seeds are planted after April 25. Read the study at….

Planting early is not without risk, however. Cool, moist soil can delay emergence and prolong seed exposure to soil pathogens. Nutrients in the furrow and crop protection products such as fungicides can stimulate early growth and improve plant health.

Staton said MSU is studying fertilizer in the furrow and near seeds, as well as placement of organic products. The results are mixed.

“Producers are always looking for ways to grow soybeans more intensively,” he continued. “Farmers need to ensure that the products and practices they implement allow them to maximize income potential.

“We have seen positive results with the fertilizer in the furrow, but there are fewer winners than losers,” Staton said.

The potential for a positive yield response of soybean starter fertilizer applied in the furrow or in a 2 by 2 band (fertilizer applied 2 inches below and 2 inches from the seed) increases under certain conditions, according to MSU studies. These include when soil tests indicate phosphorus and potassium are below critical levels, and when cool or dry conditions occur after planting.


Stephanie Zelinko, Agronomy Sales Manager for AgroLiquid, has noticed a growing trend of farmers to use in-furrow starter fertilizers for many crops, including soybeans. She said Pro-Germinator has a good return on investment, but that may not be the case for all treatments.

“We (and the client) won’t win every time… we’re very transparent about this,” Zelinko said. “The probability is very high, but there are a lot of interactions that we cannot control with Mother Nature.”

There are many in-furrow fertilizer and crop protection products available for soybeans, such as Priaxor fungicide from BASF, Keylate CoMo Classic from Stoller’s and NACHURS playmaKer, among others.


Rising fertilizer costs and supply issues will be a topic at the DTN Ag annual summit in Chicago, December 5-7. To view the summit agenda and to register, visit


Editor’s Note:

This article originally appeared on on November 18, 2020, as part of our Conquer Your Soybean Costs series. You can read the original version here:….

Matthew Wilde can be contacted at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter @progressivwilde


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