New fertilization technologies use mini-granular starter fertilizers to improve crop establishment and to enhance the development of the root system.
Especially in the early stages of the crop cycle, phosphorus is essential for root development.
Knowing that phosphorus has low mobility within the soil profile, ultra-localized application of mini starter fertilizers has become standard practice. Even though they are applied in low dosages (e.g. 20-30 kg/ha), their beneficial effect has often been proven when compared to conventional granular fertilizers applied either localized (5-6 cm from the seed rows) or broadcasted.
Figure 1: Plant nutrient availability by different application methods
How effective are conventional mini-granular starter fertilizers compared to coated mini-granular starter fertilizers?
Most conventional mini-granular products consist of NP analyses with or without other nutrients, such as S, Zn, Mn etc. Once they get in contact with water, the nutrients are immediately dissolved and become readily available to the new young root system. In optimal conditions this can be very beneficial for the young plants. But open field grown crops rarely enjoy optimal conditions.
The effectiveness of these products can easily be diminished in various situations:
Nitrogen has high mobility in light soil types. Because of this, nitrogen is easily leached when heavy rains occur after fertilizer application. Conversely, in heavy soils the dissolved nutrients build up the salt level within the root zone leading to high EC levels which is not beneficial for the young root system.
Fertilizers contain salts. When a salt is added to water, the osmotic pressure of the solution increases. When a fertilizer is applied, it dissolves and becomes part of the soil solution before the nutrients can be absorbed by the roots and be used entirely by the plants. The increase in osmotic pressure of the soil solution associated with the application of a fertilizer may determine if the plant will survive or if it will die from a fertilizer burn. Let’s see how this is possible!
For a plant's root system to take in water, the water must pass through a root cell membrane. Water can only pass through this membrane when the osmotic pressure of the solution inside the cell is higher than the osmotic pressure of the soil solution outside the cell. Water moves from a solution with low osmotic pressure into a solution with higher osmotic pressure. If the osmotic pressure of the soil solution becomes higher than that of the solution inside the cell, water cannot enter the cell and may even move out of it. This results in the death of the cell. When root cells die, the whole plant could die.
As for phosphorus, this nutrient reaches maximum availability in the soil when soil pH is between 6.5 and 7.5 (see figure 2). In relatively low soil pH, phosphorus can be blocked by iron and aluminum cations, while in high pH soils it becomes unavailable because of its combination with calcium cations. Even when applied ultra-localized, close to the seeds, phosphorus availability may be significantly reduced.
Agromaster Start Mini – the first mini-granular starter fertilizer with controlled nutrient release!
Agromaster Start Mini combines the conventional mini-granular fertilizer's effect with coated nitrogen and phosphorus, to ensure long-lasting nutrition for plants. It ensures the immediate release of nutrients which plants need in the first stages of vegetation, without affecting the germination or the emergence of the young plants, because of the high level of salts.
Agromaster Start Mini will continuously feed the plants thanks to coated nitrogen and phosphorus.
It has been proven that by using coated nutrients (coated N only or coated N & P), their availability to the young root system is significantly improved. Gradually releasing the nutrients into the root zone leads to reduced losses through leaching, less chance for root burns and less P-fixation in extreme values of soil pH.
We cannot control the weather, but we can improve nutrient use efficiency!
Click here to download the Agromaster Start Mini product brochure.