When trying a new fertility product…

A number of new fertilizer products are on the market, including seed coatings that contain small starter amounts of macro- and micronutrients. On canola seeded at the equivalent of 5 lb./ac., the rates per acre of any seed-coated nutrient will be very low. Growers considering these products are encouraged to leave test strips (link to tips on how to do test strips) and use a combine yield monitor or weigh wagon at harvest to see if this extra investment pays off in terms of yield. Measuring yield is important as canola can often compensate for small differences in growth patterns early in the season. Growers should try test strips several times to see if trends develop.

Go for highest ROI. There is no one best fertilizer source or fertilizer blend. Different products work better under different circumstances. Growers are advised to keep an open mind when it comes to fertilizer choices, but in the end it comes down to dollars: Which products provide the best return on investment (ROI)? In many cases, high-yielding canola is removing more nutrient from the soil than is being replaced with fertilizer. A key first consideration for any fertilizer plan is whether nitrogen rates are high enough to match yield targets, whether adequate sulphur is available to allow efficient use of that nitrogen, and whether seed-placed and total phosphate rates meet the start up and removal needs of the crop, respectively. These investments are likely to provide the highest rate of return.

Published on April 7, 2011