Starter Fertilizer

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Starter Fertilizer

Yes, corn planting time is rapidly approaching!

starter-fertilizer-1The corn on the left side of the picture received 4 gallons per acre of Crop Choice® 3-18-18-1, one gallon per acre of SRN 28/72, plus 1 pint per acre of Zinc. Corn on the right received a standard dry program and no starter.

Everyone is talking about pushing the new genetics to their full potential. One of the best ways to do this is to use Crop Choice clear solution, 100% orthophosphate, starter fertilizer. With three different analyses to choose from, 3-18-18-1, 9-18-9-1, & 6-24-6-1, and also 0-0-30 or 0-0-29 if extra K is needed, a tailored program can be delivered directly to your farm ready for this planting season.

So what are the benefits to using a starter program?

  • In an early, cool, damp planting season, uptake of phosphorus will be limited. With 100% orthophosphate in Crop Choice starter, that phosphorous is placed directly with the seed so that it is right where the roots can get that first ten to 12 units of nutrients in the first 30-45 days of its life. That is a crucial time of the corn plant determining its ear size, very important to have that phosphorous there for the plant.
  • starter-fertilizer-2Getting your crop off to a fast vigorous start using a Crop Choice starter program, keeps the crop healthy to help keep the stress later in the season from taking its toll. Corn in a starter program will tassel earlier, and can be 1 to 3 points drier at harvest. Wouldn’t you like to have drier corn to start harvest this fall?

The photo to the right was taken from the same field as before in about the same location, you can see from the corn tassels in the back ground that is several days ahead in tasseling than the corn that didn’t receive the starter program.

The corn in this field with the starter program averaged 1% drier than the corn without.


  • You can put more nitrogen right in the row, using a Crop Choice starter program! SRN 28/72 (Slow Release 28% Nitrogen) is safe to use right in the row with your starter analysis at 1 up to 2 gallons. The extra N right under the seed lets the young plant use it early before it has the root system to get the major amount of N that you applied earlier. SRN will not leach or volatilize. It is there for the corn to use as the roots expand to get the bulk of the N fertilizer that has been applied.
  • A Crop Choice starter program can be custom blended with EDTA Chelated zinc, manganese, calcium, and iron micronutrients. Are your crops getting enough of these through your regular fertilizer program?


The results of adding 1.5 pints of Zinc are very evident in this comparison.

  • Today, with lots of cover crops being planted, more residue to deal with, and much of our corn being no tilled, getting the early nutrients down in the root zone for the young corn to utilize it early is becoming much more of a challenge. Nutrients can be tied up in the residue and not available to the corn plant until later in the season, which is good, however, remember that phosphorous needs to be available in the first 30 to 45 days of the plants life to maximize yield.
  • Biological products can be mixed with the starter! We at SO-IL Service Inc. have been promoting SOIL RESTORE & LIQUID BACTERIA CONCENTRATE for re-introducing and stimulating the bacteria and mycorrhiza in the soil, for several years. They work! We see better root systems, less side wall compaction in the seed trench and better yield using them, because a healthy soil helps make a healthier plant that has the potential to yield better. We recommend 1 to 2 ounces per acre in with your starter program to achieve these benefits.


  • If you are thinking about using a liquid soil insecticide to compliment your program, Crop Choice liquid starter is an excellent way to deliver the insecticide to the root zone where soil insects can cause problems.



Using Capture LFR will give you better control of secondary pests, because it is going directly into the seed furrow with the seed, directly in the root zone of the young plants. It also has a low use rate of only 5.25 oz. per acre.

  • Fungicide application in the seed furrow is something that we have started testing. A Crop Choice starter program would also be an excellent carrier for fungicide, if you are pushing for the highest yields possible.

To summarize why a Crop Choice starter program would be a wise management choice:

  1. High quality clear solution 100% orthophosphate N-P-K-S fertilizer
  2. Can be blended with SRN 28/72
  3. Custom mixes of EDTA Chelated micronutrients
  4. Can mix in insecticide &/or fungicides
  5. Corn crop off to faster, stronger, healthier starts
  6. Drier corn at harvest
  7. Nutrients are immediately available to the crop when it most needs them
  8. Easy to use
  9. Safe on equipment
  10. Adds more to your bottom line – makes you more money!

Stop by the southeast corner of the Governors’ Building during the Western Farm Show (Booths 19-20) in Kansas City (Feb. 21-23) to visit with us about Crop Choice and how it can fit into your operation this year.

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