Vital crop nutrients act differently in the root zone. Some, such as nitrogen, move easily with soil water, but others, such as phosphorus, hardly move at all, requiring that plants grow to seek out the nutrients. With the rise of no-till, crop residue builds up on the soil surface — a good thing for many reasons — but it can mean that immobile nutrients, phosphorus in particular, get stuck where the plants can’t reach them.

Ken Coles, general manager of Farming Smarter at Lethbridge, AB, says that nutrient stratification is a real concern, and that while we have many solutions for nitrogen management, it could be that phosphorus has become the most limiting nutrient in zero-till systems.

To address this, Farming Smarter is running a trial that has land deep-banded with the crop’s phosphorus needs once every three years.

Using a shank opener, the fertilizer is put in about five to six inches down, into moist soil, available to the plant root system, Coles says. The trial will be run on wheat, canola, and peas, and will also look at the impact of potassium and copper, too, though he says the soil tends to be sufficient for both in this area.

Coles says the current trial put the phosphorus in in the spring, but fall would be ideal. Using GPS guidance, the seed row will be placed directly over the deep band. Listen below for more:

2 thoughts on “Switch up your fertilizer routine with deep banding

  1. Fungicide should never be used in farming. This or such other poisonous chemicals poison the soil , the water there and the produces we get from cultivation. And this poisoning goes on damaging human’s / animal’s / plant’s health for many many years in future. This is only cause for which people of Asian / African / Middle East countries are suffering from want of physical strength / intelligence for the last four / five decades. Instead of using such poisonous chemicals apply other methods of cultivation which are ecofriendly.

  2. It’s cool that crop nutrients act differently in the root zone. My sister wants to try her hand at farming, and she wants to make sure that her crops get the nutrition that they need. I’ll pass this information along to her for her consideration.

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