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In-furrow fertilizer for wheat
Stacy Campbell
Stacy Campbell

Wheat is considered a highly responsive crop to band-applied fertilizers, particularly phosphorus (P). Application of P as starter fertilizer can be an effective method for part or all the P needs. Wheat plants typically show a significant increase in fall tillers and better root development with the use of starter fertilizer (P and N). Winterkill can also be reduced with the use of starter fertilizers, particularly in low P testing soils.

Phosphorus fertilizer application can be done through the drill with the seed. In-furrow fertilizer can be applied, depending on the soil test and recommended application rate, either in addition to or instead of, any pre-plant P applications. The use of dry fertilizer sources with air seeders is a very popular and practical option. However, other P sources (including liquid) are agronomically equivalent and decisions should be based on cost and adaptability for each operation.

When applying fertilizer with the seed, rates should be limited to avoid potential toxicity to the seedling. When placing fertilizer in direct contact with wheat seed, producers should use the guidelines in Table 1.

Air seeders that place the starter fertilizer and seed in a 1- to 2-inch band, rather than a narrow seed slot, provide some margin of safety because the concentration of the fertilizer and seed is lower in these diffuse bands. In this scenario, adding a little extra N fertilizer to the starter is less likely to injure the seed - but it is still a risk.

‘Tailgate Talks’ to feature expert speakers, local landowners

There will be two Tailgate Talks in Ellis and Russell Counties next week to educate the public about protecting water sources, cover crops and other topics. These events will feature experts from K-State Research and Extension and local landowners. All are invited.

“These events are important ways for producers in our community to learn about best practices they can use in their operations,” said Stacie Minson, KSRE watershed specialist. “There are so many proven ways that people can protect and improve their water sources and optimize their cattle operations, so we’re excited to offer these demonstrations to the community.”

The first Tailgate Talk will be hosted on Sept. 8 by the Binder family at Pleasant View farms in Hays. The event will feature talks about alternative water sources for livestock use and how to make cover crops work. Speakers form KSRE will also discuss using existing feed sources in cattle operations. The second event will be on Sept. 9, hosted by Rob Corley on his farm in Russell County. On that day, speakers will demonstrate how to install a tire tank for livestock use and discuss how to incorporate cover crops into livestock grazing plans.

Both days’ talks begin at 4:30 p.m., with dinner provided to participants on each day. Speakers will be available throughout to answer questions from the public. More information about both Tailgate Talks can be found on the KCARE website, and those interested in attending either, or both, events must RSVP to (785) 769-3297. In accordance with current Kansas State University policy, each day will be limited to 50 participants, and participants should wear face coverings when physical distancing is not possible.

Stacy Campbell is an Agriculture and Natural Resources agent for Cottonwood Extension District. Email him at or call the Hays office, 785-628-9430.