Aside from the time it saves in the spring, fertilizer application is easier in the fall when it’s being applied on bean stubble or atop other unworked soils. Fall fertilizer applications guard against significant winter soil compaction since the fertilizer is worked in. (Federated Agronomists highly recommend tillage with fall fertilizer applications to reduce the risk of nutrient loss from runoff.)
“It’s a good time for [fall fertilization] so growers will be able to have a lighter load to go across the field in the spring,” said Rob Reinking, Federated agronomy sales rep in Albertville. “It also gives the P and K more time to work with the micro-organisms in the soil.”
Soil testing needs to precede fertilizer applications to ensure the right rates and fertilizer choices. Reinking said, “We can do quick turnaround on soil samples to get the most effective [fertilizer] recommendations.”
Reinking also recommended testing for pH conditions – “consider pH levels and possible lime applications in the fall, too.” (pH adjustments are most commonly needed for fields going into alfalfa next season; soil test first.)
Contact your Federated Agronomist now to determine fertilizer needs, and then again when the combines start rolling. “We like to follow the combine [with fertilizer applications],” Reinking said.