Feb 10, 2020

XLR-rate™ is one of the go-to starter fertilizers Federated recommends when growers ask about in-furrow liquid fertilizer options, according to Mike Slater, Federated agronomy sales rep serving the Isanti and Osceola locations.

XLR-rate 7-23-5, from CHS, Inc., is a high-ortho liquid fertilizer consisting of 7% nitrogen, 23% phosphorus, and 5% potassium per pound of starter. “It is a low-salt liquid starter fertilizer high in orthophosphates (80% ortho-based and 20% poly) that make it safer for seeds in furrow and more plant available right away,” he said.

Why use a liquid starter fertilizer?

Liquid starters are designed to be a “pop-up” to get the seed and seedlings off to a good start. And, compared to dry starter fertilizer, more acres can be covered between planter fills because of its lower use rates. But, “don’t think 4-5 gallons of liquid starter is going to replace 200-250+ pounds of dry starter fertilizer,” he said. Higher use rates are possible when applying 2x2, but in-furrow, 4-5 gal./ac. is the maximum recommendation for seed safety.

XLR-rate is especially beneficial when corn is planted early into cold and wet soils (see fact sheet). “With a saturated fall in 2019 and a decent snowpack this winter, the spring of 2020 is looking like it’s getting dealt another wet one by mother nature,” said Slater.

However, if the skies and soils dry quickly, take caution. While this liquid fertilizer is safer, “if mother nature is about to turn the sprinklers off for a while . . . shut off the starter [fertilizer] too, especially on the sands,” Slater said. “Safer” doesn’t mean that it is 100% safe in dry conditions.

As you plan and prepare for spring planting, consider these additional benefits of XLR-rate:

  • 100% available nutrition at or next to the seed at planting;
  • Low salt index and high levels of orthophosphates (for seed safety);
  • Increased germination and seedling health in cold, wet soils;
  • Easily mixed with other additives, such as USA500®, Triad Select™, or zinc.

On top of those advantages, corn planted with starters high in phosphorus (see this article on STP levels) commonly have faster dry down in the fall. Talk to your Federated Agronomist about XLR-rate to help maximize your yields in 2020.

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