NDSU Extension - Burke County


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Fertilizer Costs Convenience vs Efficiency

County Agent News
Dan Folske
October 1, 2018

Fertilizer Costs

Convenience vs Efficiency

Are you placing fertilizer with the seed? Many producers have quit putting fertilizer with the seed when planting. High rates of fertilizer may damage the seedlings when applied in furrow so broadcast applications may be done anyway. If you are broadcasting nitrogen and sulfur, why not just add your phosphorus, so you don’t have to handle any fertilizer when planting.  That certainly makes sense from a convenience standpoint but does it make sense economically.

NDSU fertilizer recommendations for phosphorus suggest that in furrow applications only need to be 1/3 of broadcast application rates. Depending on the amount needed and the cost of fertilizer, that difference may be significant.

Jasper Teboh, NDSU Soil Scientist set up a trial in 2018 to assess the yield impact of phosphorus on four spring wheat varieties grown in North Dakota.

  • Varieties grown (2018): Albany, Bolles, Linkert, Prosper
  • Phosphate fertilizer was broadcast and incorporated one day before seeding, at the equivalent rate of 0, 12, 24 lbs P2O5/ac.
  • Another treatment was applied with the seed at 7.2 lbs P2O5/ac.
  • A control treatment received no P2O5
  • Soil test for P was low at 4 ppm


  • Application of 7.2 lbs P with the seed significantly improved grain yield by 6.4 bushels compared to the control (0 lbs P)
    • Broadcast applications improved yield over the control by 2.26 bushels and 4.91 bushels, respectively for the 12 lb/ac an 24 lb/ac applications.
    • There was no evidence that phosphorus applications had more impact on yields of any variety versus other varities.


Broadcasting Phosphorus does work and may be convenient but make sure you consider the cost efficiency.


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