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Starters and Row Cleaners

By Randy Simonson, Ph.D.
Technical Services Manager

There is an interesting article in the Fall 1999 issue of the Fluid Journal on starter fertilizers and row cleaners in no-till continuous corn, and corn after soybeans. It discusses research done by Dr. Gyles Randall and Jeffrey Vetsch with the Southern Experiment Station in Waseca, Minnesota.

Corn after soybeans yielded 13% more than continuous corn. This substantiates a lot of research done in the past. Starter fertilizer (10 gal/A 10-34-0) increased yields in both no-till systems. In continuous corn, the starter increased yields by 6 bu/acre, and by adding the row cleaners, yields increased another 3 bu/acre. Starter increased yields by 9 bu/acre in corn after soybeans, but when the row cleaners were added, the yields actually went down by 5 bu/acre compared to just adding the starter.

Starters have been observed in many no-till trials to increase yields. Row cleaners do help the corn get up and out of the ground faster, but this advantage does not always correspond to increased yields.

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