As regulations related to fertilizer application increase across the Midwest, many producers are evaluating the feasibility of applying fertilizers below the soil surface. Often, it is unclear which types of implements are best suited to meet the nutrient management goals set for your farm. Equipment capable of sub-surface placement can vary in horsepower requirements, placement options, and the level of tillage. To help identify which implement(s) is best suited for your farm, the Ohio State Precision Ag Team compiled a list of sub-surface placement benefits and categorized available equipment options. Here are several benefits of sub-surface placement of fertilizers:
• It makes fertilizers readily available for crop uptake.
• It can potentially reduce pre-plant field passes to a single operation, conserving fuel and reducing compaction.
• Strip-till, sub-surface placement equipment allows for optimal seedbed preparation, improving planter performance.
• It can reduce off-site transport of fertilizer in overland runoff.
For a decision aiding tool, we categorized currently available sub-surface placement implements into one of the four categories:
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