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Purdue Extension Martin County Blast January 23, 2023




WHAT:  4-H Camp Counselor Applications for Southern Indiana 4-H Camp




Would you like to interact with other 4-H teens from the area, have three fun-filled days camping and be a positive role model to younger 4-H members?  Now is your opportunity.  Being a Camp Counselor is a fun, rewarding event. Camp is June 2, 3 & 4 2023 at Country Retreat Center, Underwood, Indiana.  Check out the Website listed above for a copy of the application, information of upcoming interviews and details on how to apply.  Application deadline is Wednesday, February 1, 2023 via 4-H Online. Interviews will be done via Zoom starting Tuesday, February 28, 2023 and will continue on Wednesday and Thursday March 1 and 2, 2023.  A Link to sign-up times will be sent once your application submission is complete.  Be sure to visit the bit link for any information you might need to take part in this exciting event.  

Adult Volunteer Enrollment and Certification

All adult volunteers must re-enroll to obtain certification for 2022-2023 programming season. Enrollment opened October 1, 2021. Please log onto and complete your profile. If you have any questions, please call 812-295-2412 or email


VOLUNTEER opportunities

Have you ever thought about a talent you have or a talent you want to develop alongside youth in the 4-H Program?  Purdue Extension & Martin County 4-H is seeking adults to work to MAKE THE BEST BETTER through 4-H programs. Contact Dena to explore how to work together in this way.  No matter how much time you have, volunteering with 4-H makes a difference by helping youth explore and discover the skills they need to lead for a lifetime. There are lots of ways to get involved! Currently, 4-H Club Leaders are needed for All Terrain Vehicle Program, Shooting Sports and STEM/Robotics. Various content specialist and general volunteers are also needed.


Parents, family and adult friends of 4-H members are often a natural fit to help with programming and is one way to spending quality time with the youth in your lives!




The 2023 4-H ATV safety skills assessment training will occur Saturday, April 1 at the Putnam County 4-H Fairgrounds. Pre-registration is required through 4-H Online. The $25.00 registration fee includes training materials and lunch. 4-H adult volunteers will be reimbursed their Indiana OHV/ORV safety certification fee. Indiana 4-H skills assessment and Indiana OHV/ORV certifications do not require renewal. The training flyer is attached and available on the 4-H ATV Safety web page.  





WHERE:  Jackson County Learning center

                  323 Dupont Drive, Seymour, IN  47274

TIME:    9:00 am to 3:00 pm

Registration:  Due by JANUARY 25, 2023

COST:  $40.00: Includes Lunch and Materials

Register on your 4-H Online profile, If assistance is needed, please call the Martin County Purdue Extension Office at 812-295-2412.  This is an excellent opportunity for Indiana Judges and Leaders to enhance or develop their skills to be a Judge or Volunteer for the Indiana 4-H program.  Topics will cover both Livestock and Exhibit Hall Projects.  Attendees will be placed on a Preferred Judges List for Southeast Indiana 4-H.



WHERE:  Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds

TIME:  10:00 am EST

REGISTRATION:  9:30 am to 10:00 am EST

COST:  $10.00 Per youth participant

FOR INFORMATION:  Contact Ashlee Davis – or Mercedes Brunton –



4-H Horse Bowl and Hippology Contest – March 25th at Purdue University, West Lafayette

4-H Horse Communications Contest- April 13th held Virtually

4-H and FFA Horse Judging- May 6th at Hendricks County 4-H Fairgrounds


4-H Academy @ Purdue

  • Wednesday June 7th – Friday June 9th
  • Purdue University, West Lafayette
  • grades 9-12 completed
  • 15 career exploration workshops available
  • Registration deadline May 15th : to ride Area III bus, deadline is March 31
  • 4-H Academy @ Purdue is a program held at Purdue University specifically designed to offer hands-on, exciting opportunities to learn about a diverse selection of subjects and careers. During this conference previously known as 4-H Science Workshops, participants will meet and learn from professors, graduate students and other experts in their respective fields and participate in interactive activities and experiential learning. Participants stay in a Purdue University Residence Hall for two nights while exploring the Purdue University campus and meeting 4-H members from across Indiana. 4-H Academy @ Purdue is open to all youth grades 9-12.

State 4-H Band & Chorus wORKSHOPS;

  • Saturday June 24h – Monday June 26th
  • Purdue University; perform during 4-H Round-Up
  • Grades 9-12 completed
  • Registration deadline June 1st
  • The State 4-H Band​ workshop is three days in length. Youth will improve their instrumental skills as they prepare for a concert band performance Monday evening during 4-H Round-Up. Any youth who has completed grade 9, 10, 11, or 12 may apply. 4-H membership is not required. Selection is made by the State 4-H B
  • The State 4-H Chorus​ workshop is three days in length. Youth will improve their vocal and choreography skills as they prepare for a show choir performance Tuesday evening during 4-H Round-Up. Any youth who has completed grade 9, 10, 11, or 12 may apply. 4-H membership is not required. Selection is made by the State 4-H Chorus Director and Coordinator.​ and Director and Coordinator. 

 4-H Round-Up

  • Monday June 26th -Wednesday June 28th
  • Purdue University, West Lafayette
  • Grades 7-9 completed
  • Registration deadline June 1st: to ride Area III bus, deadline is March 31
  • 4-H Round-Up is an exciting opportunity offered to youth who have completed grades 7, 8, and 9. Attendees have an opportunity to explore a variety of careers by attending classes created just for Round-Up attendees at Purdue University. Participants will get a taste of college life and will live in a Purdue Residence Hall for two nights. Youth have an opportunity to meet others from across the state and further develop their leadership skills. Recreation events are planned in the evenings and blocks of free time allow attendees the opportunity to build friendships on their own.

State Fair Exhibit Hall Workers

  • End of July through completion of Indiana State Fair
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Workers must be at least 14 years old at the time of work
  • College students are welcome to apply
  • Application due April 15th
  • Youth are afforded an opportunity to work at the Indiana State Fair as an Exhibit Hall Worker​​. Duties include checking-in non-animal 4-H exhibits, preparing exhibits for display to the public, record keeping, interacting with fair attendees, assisting with a variety of state fair events, and releasing exhibits. Workers will develop team work, customer service, record keeping, and other work-related skills through this temporary employment opportunity. 
  • Exhibit Hall Worker are expected to reside on-site in the reserved dormitory space. This is a minimum wage-earning employment opportunity.​

Indiana 4-H Leadership Summit 2023

  • Saturday October 21st
  • Youth grades 8th-12th and adult volunteers
  • Educational breakout sessions & scholarship & volunteer award recognition

National 4-H Youth Congress 2023

  • Friday November 24th – Tuesday November 28th
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Grades 9+
  • Application due May 1st
  • National 4-H Congress​ is one of the premier experiences for 4-H members across the country. For more than ninety years, 4-H members have been gathering to celebrate the successes and accomplishments of 4-H at this event. National 4-H Congress provides a life-changing experience for youth to meet other 4-H members from across America, as they participate in educational workshops focusing on diversity, cultural experiences, leadership, team development, and of course having fun! 4-H members in grades 9-12 may apply. Eight to ten selected applicants will comprise Indiana's delegation. 

Career Development Events

  • Competitive events throughout the year that allow youth to showcase their knowledge in 15 different subject areas. Most Career Development Events offer both individual and team entries.

Subject Areas include:

Consumer Decision Making  


Milk Quality and Products ​

Dairy Cattle Judging  




Horse Judging  


Livestock Judging   

Livestock Skillathon  

Meat Judging  

Poultry Judging  

Soil Judging  

Wildlife Habitat ​​

State 4-H Junior Leader Conference


Facebook:  @4HSJLC;

  • Tuesday June 13th - Friday June 16th
  • DePauw University
  • Grades 9th-12th completed
  • Registration due May 15th
  • The Conference is planned by a 14-member Jr. Leader Council.



Those who want to learn new leadership skills for themselves and others.

Those willing to share the knowledge they gain with those at home.

Those who want to meet new friends from around Indiana.

Those who want to have fun!

  • While at Jr. Leader Conference, youth participate in:​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Skill Sessions

State Park Group meetings

General Sessions

Skits/Talent Show


Banquet and Dance

Installation Ceremony for Jr. Leader Council

Citizenship Washington Focus

  • Dates: July 1-7, 2023
  • Washington D.C.
  • Grades 9th-12th completed
  • Registration deadline March 15th
  • This one-time trip is an exciting experience for 4-H members and other youth to go to the nation's capital and learn more about the meaning of citizenship. Listening, learning, sharing, receiving, caring and touring combine to provide a deeper respect and understanding for our American heritage and the principles, processes and structures of the U.S. government. Young people acquire increased motivation and skills for dealing with contemporary social issues and for taking leadership in community development, government affairs, and related projects when they return home. Each delegate will take part in workshops on contemporary issues and topics such as international affairs, human relations, government, ecology and conservation, family life and dating, community development, drama and creative expression, economics, agricultural policy, leadership, and careers. In addition, advanced training sessions are scheduled to provide in-depth concentration on one topical area such as community development, heritage, economics, politics, environment and ecology, human relations, communications, family life and dating, advanced citizenship-seminar policy, and others of current interest.”

Communications Events at the Indiana State Fair

  • Demonstration
  • Informative 4-H presentation
  • Professional persuasive presentation
  • Public speaking
  • Youth participate at the county level as a 4-H Member in an effort to qualify for these events at The Indiana State Fair


National 4-H Dairy Conference

  • Sunday October 1st- Thursday October 5th
  • University of Wisconsin- Madison
  • Grades 9th-12th completed
  • Registration deadline July 15


One way to earn admission into Purdue University is through Fast Start. Indiana Students can take the Modern States online courses for free.  Those who pass a minimum of five corresponding College Board CLEP exams and meet Purdue’s standard admission requirements are assured admission to Purdue and designated Klinsky Scholars. CLEP testing centers are now open along with online options. The Purdue Extension Martin County Office staff are available to help local students access this opportunity! 



The January Clover Call podcast ( highlights some of the 2022 Indiana 4-H Volunteer Awards of Excellence recipients, including 4-H Volunteer Rhonda Sanders! In the podcast, awardees share some of their volunteer activities related to the 4-H program.


Nominations are open for the 2023 Indiana 4-H Volunteer Award of Excellence. Visit the Volunteer – Volunteer Recognition tab on the 4-H Website for more information:




Purdue Extension Gibson County will host Winter Workshops again this year at Gibson Southern High School. Workshops will be each Monday in February located in the cafeteria and will all start at 6pm CST/7PM EST. Workshops will cover a variety of topics relevant to local farmers, provide opportunity for discussion and continued learning.


Feb 6th – Weed Management Outlook by Marcelo Zimmer

Feb 13th – Farm Bureau Policy Discussion & FSA Update – Pizza provided

Feb 20th – Digital Agriculture – Drones, Data & So Much More by Mark Carter – PARP & Meal

Feb 27th – Weather, Climate & Soil Health by Hans Schmitz


Everyone is welcome to attend, no RSVP necessary. Call 812-385-3491 with questions or accommodation requests.




Join us to learn about 4-H livestock projects and how to improve your showmanship skills and husbandry practices!


WHEN:  Saturday, February 25, 2023

TIME:     9:00 am to 3:00 pm

WHERE:  Warrick County 4-H Center – Alcoa Building

COST:  $5.00 per member (No cost for Warrick County 4-Hers)

RSVP:  Call or Text: Elizabeth Butcher – 812-202-5552 or Jessie Hope – 812-686-5155

LUNCH: Fazolis - Spaghetti, Fettuccini and Breadsticks

Topics include: 

Networking:  Meet fellow 4-Hers from across Area 3

Stock Selection:  Learn what to look for in stock when selecting your show animals.

Nutrition/Animal Health:  An industry expert will discuss the most important things to focus on when feeding livestock.

Showmanship Techniques:  Everything you need to know to be successful in the show ring


Whether your project is big or small, this workshop will give you the information you need to submit proposals confidently.

NOTE:  If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, contact Wendy Cuiksa at 812-462-3371 prior to the workshop.


When: Wednesday, March 8, 2023 12-4 PM ET

Where: VU Shircliff Humanities Bldg, Room A204 (130 E. Harrison St. Vincennes, IN)


  • learn canning basics, food safety guidelines for home canning, where to find resources
  • course includes lecture, handouts and hands-on practice in the kitchen
  • participants will take home their own sample of home-canned product that they make

Cost: $25 or $40 for two people registering at the same time

Register by sending the following information to Purdue Extension – Knox County 4259 N. Purdue Rd., Vincennes, IN 47591. Make check payable to Purdue Education Fund. Sponsorships are available; inquire at 812-882-3509

If you need a reasonable accommodation to attend this program, please contact Tonya at 812-882-3509 at least 10 business days prior to the event.



Are you wondering where to begin when it comes to estate planning:  If so, you’re not alone.

Learn more about estate planning goals, the difference between wills and trusts, advance directives and their importance, and organizing your important documents.


WHEN: February 23, 2023

TIME:  6:30 to 7:30 pm

WHERE:  Owen County Purdue Extension Office

CONTACT PERSON:  Jamie Jo Lowder, Health and Human Sciences Extension Educator

        Email Address:       Ph Number: 812-829-5020

More details available at:


ACCESS TO ANIMAL MEDICATIONS: Plan Ahead for Changes Coming this Summer

By Debbie Boyd, DVM; Indiana State Board of Animal Health

Changes are coming to the way certain antibiotics will be available to animal owners by June 11, 2023.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been taking steps to improve the judicious use of antibiotics in humans and animals.  For animal owners, the next step is outlined in Guidance for Industry (GFI) #263.  This document requires drug companies to change the labels on over-the-counter medically important antibiotics (MIA) to prescription status.  The FDA has been working toward the goal of having all medically important antibiotics for animals fall under the oversight of veterinarians.  In 2017, FDA required MIAs in feed to have a veterinary feed directive (VFD) and all antibiotics administered via water have prescription labels.

Not all drugs and not even all antibiotics will be affected by this rule change—only MIAs.  Medically important antibiotics are those classes of antibiotics that are important for treating human disease.  However, the most common over-the-counter antibiotics such as penicillin, tetracyclines, and sulfas fall in the medically important category and will no longer be available without a prescription.  GFI #263 affects MIAs for livestock, equine, and small animals. 

Dewormers, some coccidiostats, and some less common and non-MIA antibiotics will not have a label change.  

Antibiotics you have on-hand after they are no longer available to buy without a prescription may be used legally.  However, stocking up on these products is not recommended they may expire before they can be used.  The best idea is to work with your veterinarian and have a plan in place for when animals may need antibiotics.  If you don’t currently have a regular veterinarian, now is a good time to reach out to one before an emergency occurs.  Veterinarians are not obligated to write prescriptions or see animals, particularly after hours, if they are not regular clients. A valid veterinary client patient relationship (VCPR) is required for veterinarians to write prescriptions.  To establish a valid VCPR, be prepared to have an annual visit from the veterinarian in order to have access to emergency visits and prescriptions.  This federal rule change does not mean a veterinarian needs to see every animal every time it is sick.  However, how you and your veterinarian will handle sick animals, prescriptions, and emergency situations is a conversation that should be completed in advance.




2023 INDIANA STATE FAIR – JULY 28 – AUGUST 20, 2023 Closed Monday & Tuesdays


Corn Response To Starter Fertilizer In Indiana





This summary is based on 55 field scale research trials conducted at Purdue Ag. Centers and with on–farm collaborators around the state of Indiana from 2014 – 2022. Many of the trials served as research projects for our former graduate students Cody Hornaday, Jason Lee, and Daniela Orjuela–Diaz.


Research Summary

  • Starter fertilizer in 2×2 placement usually speeds up the plant development rate and dry matter accumulation of corn during vegetative growth stages. In-furrow fertilizer (pop-up) effects on early growth are not as large as higher nitrogen rates applied in 2×2 placement
  • Faster crop development results in earlier silking, earlier grain maturity, and dryer grain at harvest. Starter fertilizer, depending on placement and rate, reduced grain moisture at harvest between 0.6 and 1.4 percentage points compared to no starter fertilizer in 80% of the trials (43 of 54). Grain moisture was drier with starter, than without starter, by an average of 1 percentage point whether or not a grain yield incase occurred.
  • Grain yield responses to 2×2 starter fertilizer occurred less frequently in our trials than did grain moisture responses.
    1. In 24 of 25 trials, yield response to 2×2 starter fertilizer (23-50 lbs. N) averaged 7 bushels per acre (bu/ac> compared to no starter fertilizer and ranged as high as 18 bu/ac. No yield response to this range of starter fertilizer was detected in the other 31 trials.
    2. In 4 or 20 trials that compared normal (25-35 lbs. N) to higher than normal (46-50 lbs. N) rates of 2×2 starter fertilizer, yields woth the higher starter rate averaged 5.2 bu/ac greater than those with the normal rate. No yield differences between the two starter rates wre detected in the other 16 trials.
  • In-furrow (pop-up) starter fertilizer (3-5 lbs. N) outyielded the [No Starter] control in only 1 of 21 trials (6.1 bu/ac) and decreased yield in 2 other trials by 3.3 and 5.4 bu/ac. No yield response to in-furrow fertilizer was detected in the other 18 trials.
  • A combination of in-furrow plus 2×2 starter fertilizer (total of 25 lbs. N) was evaluated in 19 trials, but only outyielded a standard (25 lbs. N) 2×2 starter fertilizer treatment in one of those trials by 6.8 bu/ac.
  • In 5 trials that evaluated N, N+P, and N+P+K starter 2×2 fertilizer sources, the nitrogen component of the 2×2 starter fertilizer was found to be the primary component that resulted in starter fertilizer benefits.

Long Description


Figure 1. Taller plants, more biomass, and more advanced growth stage are common results of starter fertilizer use.

Starter fertilizer is the practice of applying a band of fertilizer with or near the seed at the time of planting. The most common applications are in-furrow with the seed (aka pop-up) or 2×2 (a band placed 2 inches below and 2 inches to the side of the seed). Other distances from the seed including on the soil surface are sometimes utilized. Research in Indiana over the years, including our field trials, suggests that corn response to starter fertilizer is based primarily on the nitrogen component of the fertilizer, although farmers often include phosphorus and sometimes potassium. For soils prone to zinc deficiency, including zinc in starter fertilizers is a convenient and economical method to provide that nutrient to the crop.

Precautions when using starter fertilizer
Application of starter fertilizer at planting is not without risk, especially when placed in-furrow with the seed. Seed germination and seedling establishment can be damaged by too much of certain nutrients. Damage to seed or plant tissues can arise from salt, ammonia, and other components plus breakdown products. Direct contact of fertilizer with the seed is the riskiest placement. Urea, ammonium thiosulfate, and boron should never be placed with the seed.

For other fertilizers containing nitrogen and potassium we recommend no more than 5 pounds of nitrogen (N) plus potassium (as K2O) per acre on sandy soils and no more than 8 lbs. N plus K2O per acre for silt loam and heavier-textured soils. The more soil between the fertilizer and the seed the better, although problems can still occur especially in sandy soils and low soil moisture. We recommend applying no more than 20 lbs. N plus K2O per acre within 1 inch of the seed and no more than 100 lbs. N plus K2O per acre in a standard 2×2 placement. Rates approaching 100 lbs. N plus K2O per acre in a 2×2 placement are not likely agronomically beneficial and often adds additional re-fill time to the planting operation.

Our field scale trials
We began evaluating corn responses to starter fertilizer in field scale trials beginning in 2014. Since then, we have conducted 55 trials around the state at Purdue Ag. Centers and with on-farm collaborators. The nature of the starter fertilizer treatments varied over the years. Nineteen trials evaluated in-furrow (3 gal/ac of 10-34-0 or 5 gal/ac of 6-24-6), traditional 2×2 (28-0-0 or 19-17-0) and in-furrow plus 2×2 placements compared to no starter fertilizer. Twenty trials included 2 rates of 2×2 starter fertilizer (25 and 50 lbs. N per acre). The remainder of the trials focused on comparing single rates of 2×2 starter fertilizer (either 28-0-0 or 19-17-0) ranging from 25 to 40 lbs. N per acre with no starter fertilizer.

Sidedress nitrogen rates were adjusted plot by plot in every trial to ensure that every plot received the same total amount of nitrogen fertilizer for the season. These totals were selected based on previous research we had conducted that established optimum N rates for different areas of Indiana. The corn hybrids used in these replicated field trials varied location to location and year to year, but all were widely grown hybrids well-adapted to Indiana. Seeding rates varied slightly among the trials from about 30,000 to 34,000 seeds per acre, except at the Southwest Purdue Ag. Center where 27,000 seeds per acre was planted because of its drought-prone sandier soils.

All the trials were field scale in size with individual plot widths ranging from 12 – 16 rows wide (30 – 40 ft) by length of field (300 – 2000 ft). Commercial farming equipment was used for every field operation. Plots were harvested with commercial combines equipped with GPS-enabled yield monitors that were calibrated to each field’s conditions the day of harvest. Spatial as-applied planting, fertilizing, and yield data were processed and cleaned using a combination of commercially available mapping and GIS software. The resulting data sets were analyzed using statistical software available to us at Purdue.


Starter fertilizer increases early plant development rate
Starter fertilizer almost always results in faster early development of the crop. This is evident when an applicator nozzle plugs during planting and later that row is noticeably smaller than the other rows. Plants with no starter fertilizer are shorter, have less biomass, and are often lighter green
than those receiving the intended rate of starter. This apparent enhanced early growth due to starter fertilizer is mostly because the plants are literally at an advanced growth stage compared to plants grown without starter fertilizer.


Long Description


Figure 2. No tassels without starter in the center of photo compared to tasseled plants on left and right with starter.

Earlier silking and drier grain at harvest
The consequence of faster leaf development is that pollination occurs earlier, which translates to earlier grain maturity. The earlier maturation allows the grain to dry down during a relatively warmer and longer time period and so grain moisture is less at harvest. Starter fertilizer in general reduced grain moisture at harvest by 0.6 to 1.4 percentage points in 80% of our trials. Drier grain at harvest with starter fertilizer, generally occurs even when grain yield does not respond to starter fertilizer. In 21 of 28 trials where yield was NOT affected by starter fertilizer, grain moisture was still lower than the [No Starter] Control by an average of 1 percentage point. In continuous corn a 2×2 starter rate of 25 lbs. N/ac averaged 1.1
points drier grain at harvest than no starter fertilizer, while twice this N rate lowered moisture 1.4 points on average. When 3 gallons per acre of 10–34–0 was used as pop–up, grain moisture averaged 0.6 point drier compared to no starter. In corn following soybean, grain moisture from a 2×2 starter rate of 25 lbs. N/ac was about 0.8 point lower than no starter. We did not examine higher rates of nitrogen or pop–up in rotation corn.

Yield response to starter fertilizer
In continuous corn, starter fertilizer at 20 – 50 lbs. N/ac increased yield in 15 of 36 trials compared to no starter fertilizer. The yield increases due to starter fertilizer at the responsive locations ranged from 2.4 to 18.4 bu/ac and averaged 8.3 bu/ac. Most of the responses we saw were at 3 locations that were farmed no–till.

Fifty pounds of nitrogen per acre as 2×2 starter was compared with 25 lbs. N/ac in 19 trials in long-term continuous corn to determine
whether the higher starter fertilizer rate would be more beneficial in that cropping system. Yield responded to starter fertilizer in only
7 of the 19 trials and of those, yield increases were greater for the high starter rate in 4 trials by an average of 5.2 bu/ac.


Long Description


Figure 3. Faster development and earlier senescence with starter fertilizer results in drier grain or earlier harvest even when no yield increase occurs.

Pop–up fertilizer (3 gal 10–34–0/ac or 5 gal 6–24–6/ac) increased grain yield in only 1 of 20 trials. At that site the yield increase was 6 bu/ac.
However, pop–up fertilizer decreased yield at 2 of 20 trials by 3.3 and 5.4 bu/ac, respectively.

A combination of in–furrow plus 2×2 starter fertilizer (total of 25 lbs. N) was evaluated in 19 trials, but only outyielded a standard (25 lbs. N) 2×2 starter fertilizer treatment in one of those trials by 6.8 bu/ac.

Of 18 trials with rotation corn, starter fertilizer rates ranging from 20 to 45 lbs. N/ac increased yield in 8 trials by an average of 6.5 bu/ac and ranged from 2.7 to 11.7 bu/ac. Responses occurred in 3 of 5 no–till fields, 2 of 5 strip till fields, and 3 of 8 chisel–plowed fields.

Costs of starter fertilizer use
In our trials, the extra cost of fertilizer applied as starter was minimal. If P is included in the starter, the difference between the cost of P from granular fertilizer (usually MAP – monoammonium phosphate or DAP – diammonium phosphate) and the cost of P in 10-34-0 is only a few dollars per acre with common fertilizer costs. If only N is included in the starter fertilizer, which was the nutrient most responsible for the responses in our field trials, there is no additional cost to the starter fertilizer because the rate of sidedressed liquid N can be reduced by the amount of N applied at planting. Therefore, considering planting and sidedressing, the same amount of liquid N was used to apply the same amount of total N. If anhydrous is the primary N source than the N provided by liquid N would cost a few dollars per acre more than the N provided by anhydrous ammonia. Naturally, if one uses a higher priced specialty starter fertilizer blend, the cost per acre for starter fertilizer may be more substantial.
If one already has a 2×2 starter system on the planter the occasional increases in yield and the consistent reduction in harvest moisture or earlier harvest come with no additional cost, other than the time it might take to re-fill the fertilizer tank during planting. If buying a new planter, the cost of starter fertilizer attachments should be compared to the potential benefits of greater yield and reduced drying costs or earlier harvest to determine the profitability of purchasing the system. Even if only the benefits of lower grain moisture at harvest are considered, an average point drier grain for, say, a 225 bu/ac grain yield, at 2 cents drying cost per point per bushel, would translate to $4.50/ac savings in grain drying expense. Over 1,000 acres of corn, that would equal $4500 in cost savings per year.


Long Description


Figure 4. Harvest of field-scale fertilizer trial at SEPAC in 2019.

Pop-up starter did not decrease grain moisture as much as 2×2 starter did and provided essentially no yield benefit. Our research suggests little incentive to utilize pop-up (at least with 3 gal/ac of 10-34-0). Higher rates of 10-34-0 or fertilizers of different composition would need to be tested to determine their effectiveness, but at this point we do not believe pop-up starter fertilizer provides significant yield or grain moisture benefits.

Take-aways from our research
Starter 2×2 fertilizer in corn does not consistently increase grain yield but frequently reduces grain moisture at harvest by as much as 1.5 percentage points. Across our 55 field scale trials, there were no clear relationships between the likelihood of yield response to starter fertilizer and factors like previous crop, soil type, soil drainage, tillage system, planting date, or region of the state. However, while yield increases due to starter 2×2 fertilizer
occurred less than half of the time in our trials, the potential for increased yield due to starter 2×2 fertilizer as high as 10 – 15 bu/ac makes its use attractive to consider. If you already have starter 2×2 fertilizer attachments on your planter and if you focus on traditional starter fertilizer sources (e.g., 28-0-0, 10-34-0), we believe that the use of starter 2×2 fertilizer, at 25 to 40 lbs N/ac, is a low-cost form of “crop insurance” against unpredictable soil and weather conditions at and after planting during the important stand establishment period. As indicated earlier, the higher frequency of drier grain at harvest due to starter fertilizer, and the annual cost savings that represents, adds to the attractiveness of making starter 2×2 fertilizer part of your corn production strategies.

Acknowledgements: Indiana Corn Marketing Council, Pioneer Hybrid Intl., Beck’s Hybrids, Purdue Agricultural Centers, and farmer cooperators. This work was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch Project 1010713.


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