Corn growers may increase yields by precisely planting seed in relation to previously established strip-tilled fertilized rows.

The best location for planting is determined by how soon corn is planted after fertilizer application and the rate and form of fertilizer used, according to Keith Janssen, soil management agronomist at the Kansas State University East Central Experiment Field near Ottawa.

"Strip-tilled fertilized rows could have air pockets under the row, might be dry or cloddy or could have excessive levels of fertilizer salts or free ammonia," Janssen said. "On the other hand, planting too far away from the strip-tilled fertilized rows might reduce benefits from residue management including warmer loosened soil and rapid root-to-fertilizer contact."

Janssen conducted a study over the course of three years in fine-textured soil in eastern Kansas to determine the optimum location for planting corn using strip-till methods. He found that planting seed directly on top of freshly, strip-tilled fertilized rows actually reduced yields, in some cases by up to eight percent.

"Overall, the best location for planting on these fine-textured soils was within 3.75 inches of the strip-till fertilized rows and where the seedbed was firm and moist," he said. "This is most likely to ensure good plant stand establishment and quick contact between corn roots and fertilizer."

SOURCE: Kansas State University Extension