Fertilize 1-2 weeks before planting?


Staff member
I am trying to get everything done that I need to with my tractor so it can be out on the job brushhogging soon. I do commercial brushogging and my busy time is here. My tractor may be on a job site for 2 weeks at a time...

What I need to know is if there is any negative to putting fertilizer down now and tilling it in and then coming back in a week or 2 to plant? We have a couple decent shots at rain soon and I want it incorporated. I am using triple 19...
The only problem with that is that it will gives the weeds a head start. You are fine to fertilize early, just plan on disking again right before planting or killing with herbicides.
In this business you do what you can do when you can do it - that's my philosophy. Nothing ever died from an early application of fertilizer. To get a little more pointed about it, if you can hold the nitrogen and just spread P & K now that would be perfect! Just depends on how you buy your fertilizer. If it's a commercial blend, that might not be so easy! Oh, I see. 19-19-19. Put it down now. In the soil (rather than on the soil) would be almost perfect!
I'd sooner put it on two weeks late. Plants germinate well on lower fertilizer, and then you give them a shot in the arm right before a rain and watch things green up. Nitrogen needs to be taken up or you start losing it.
I thoroughly enjoy the civil conversations always present on this forum and it's not my intention to upset that quality. However, there are times when I feel like an "exchange of ideas" could be interesting. I watch with amusement as this issue of nitrogen application timing is presented as a Holy Grail. It isn't.

We seem to get fixated on the application of urea, surface applied, and losses under the worst possible conditions. I have faced some "worst possible conditions and I'm still here and there's still money in the checkbook (although I've lost a wife or two along the way)! There are so many factors that affect loss, it's impossible to have an intelligent discussion on a forum. Yes, it's worth some consideration - and consider it for about 10 seconds. Then, make a decision.

If you think to be successful doing food plots requires this precise timing, you worry too much about an inconsequential issue - in food plotting. If we're fertilizing a thousand acres of corn (who would use urea to do that?), then volatilization might be worth a comment.

OkieKubota has a problem. He has a tractor now (and maybe not later?). He wants to apply 19-19-19 now and is going to disc it into the soil! First, the nitrogen is in the soil. That removes the volatilization concerns, but, I admit it introduces a few other of much less consequence. Second, he's using triple 19. Most likely the blend per 100 is 41 lbs of 18-46-0 which supplies 7 of the 19 lbs of N. The rest is probably urea. Doesn't sound like much, but over a third of a the N is supplied by a non-volatile source. Put it on the surface or disc it in. It'll be there in a week or two barring torrential erosion inducing rains.

My concern is we 'experts' make this idea of food plotting so difficult it scares the rest of the audience unnecessarily.

Best wishes and thank you all for your contributions! This is a great place and you all are great people!