Choosing the Right Corn Starter

Choosing the Right Corn Starter

Corn growing across the southeast are either in the beginning or soon to be planting corn crops for this year. One important thing to remember when planting is choosing the right corn starter fertilizer, which is critical to protect your yield potential later in the season. Greg Vincent is a district manager with Ag Spectrum and The Maximum Farming System from Missouri. He says setting up the plant to get early phosphorus uptake is critically import early in a corn plant’s life.

“Most people, when they’re choosing a starter, they’re really kind of choosing it for the wrong reasons a lot of times, in that they think they want that pop up to get it up out of the ground fast. And that’s important that it gets up and growing fast, but the real reason that you should be using a starter fertilizer is for the phosphorus uptake. Because the critical time for corn to develop really its yield potential, early on anyways, is at the V3 stage, and that is determined by the kernel count around the corn ear, and that’s really driven by phosphorus uptake by V3 to V5."

Phosphorus doesn't become available until soil temperatures reach 60 degrees for almost 2 weeks and microbiological activity increases. Vincent says it’s important to choose the right starter fertilizer that has nutrients readily available from the start of the growing season…tape

“If you can find a starter cooked into a nutrient form, so that means its available immediately to the plant. It’s also at a lower PH, so it’s not tied up by the calcium in the soil because calcium and phosphorus naturally tie up. So, phosphorus does not become available with most starters, and if you are using the wrong one, you’re using starters for the wrong reason then. And that’s why a lot of times at the end of a season farmers are going to be very disappointed in their yields.”

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