Considerations for side-banded nitrogen fertilization
Side-band application of nitrogen fertilizer in a one-pass seeding and fertilizing system can improve operational efficiency and conserve soil moisture. However, under some circumstances, seedling damage can result from excessive concentrations of nitrogen coming in contact with the germinating seedling. Risk factors include high nitrogen application rates, use of urea-based fertilizers, wide row spacing leading to low seed-bed utilisation, high pH carbonated soils, soils with low cation exchange capacity and drying conditions after seeding. Loss of separation between seed and fertilizer can also increase potential for damage. Risk can be reduced by use of forms of nitrogen fertilizer other than urea, reducing the rate of nitrogen fertilizer applied, increasing the separation between seed and fertilizer and ensuring that the planned separation is maintained, increasing seed-bed utilisation or selecting another method of nitrogen placement.
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