February 2008
Featured Articles

Broadcast vs. Strip Banding

By  Dick Farst

Now is the time to consider band applying phosphorus (P) and potash (K) where the equipment is available. During the 1980s research was done across the U.S. comparing band applied crop nutrients vs. broadcast. With today’s crop nutrients cost it is time to look at application methods to apply P and K. The research below shows surface banding is not new and most definitely pays big dividends.

10-34-0 or complete N-P-K liquid fertilizers (where available) can be applied with row gators, high cycles or farm sprayers simply by turning the nozzles sideways creating a band on 20-30" spacing. This can also be accomplished by using flat disc orifices in place of the nozzles. Ag Chemical Equipment Co. offers strip nozzles. Your local Quality Co-ops who have an air spreader can band apply dry N, P and K with their high flotation equipment.

A great deal of the research has been conducted with surface applied P and P&K. Starter fertilizers are the oldest form of banding and have always proven to be equal or to improve yields over broadcast applications. Much of the 1980s research proved banding required less fertilizer per acre than broadcast.

An example of the research is from the Fluid Digest of LSU’s 1985 to 1988 study on N-P-K placement on cotton: broadcast, 1390#; deep placement band, 1424#; surface band, 1575#.

When applied in a band corn, wheat and soybean studies from across the country show the same benefit. More yield with up to 25% less fertilizer.


Purdue’s 18-year study of a surface band vs. broadcast equaled an 11-bushel corn increase using the same rates of P&K. (Dr. Stan Barber, Purdue University)

Fall applied P2O5 30# 60# 90#
Broadcast 118 Bu 121 Bu 122 Bu
Surface Band 128 Bu 132 Bu 133Bu


Nebraska 4-year study improved no-till corn yields with dribble surface placement (Dr. John Halvin, University of Nebraska Source; Fluid Digest)

Broadcast 130 Bu
Dribble Band 144 Bu


Dr. Jay Johnson’s Ohio soybean study using 40 # of Potash 1985 & 1986 (Fluid Digest)

None 45.3 Bu
Broadcast 45.8 Bu
50% Broadcast 46.7 Bu
Strip Placement 48.2 Bu


Dr. George Rehm of the University of Minnesota compared broadcast vs surface band and subsurface band on ridge tilled and chiseled surfaces for corn. (Fluid Digest)

  Ridge Chiseled
Broadcast 148 Bu 148 Bu
Surface Band 158 Bu 152 Bu
Knifed Subsurface 159 Bu 154 Bu


Ohio corn study conducted by Blank’s Agri-Service from 1981 through 1994 using 25% less P&K gave a 7.8 bu. Yield Increase using a surface band vs. broadcast both plus starter fertilizer.

Broadcast Plus 146.4 Bu Corn
Surface Band 154.2 Bu Corn

Banding works on hay fields as well.

Kansas State University compared preplant P&K on first year alfalfa yields. (Fluid Digest):
Application Method 3 Cutting Yields
Broadcast 3.9 Tons/Ac
Surface Band 4.6 Tons/Ac
Knife Band 4.7 Tons/Ac


Now is the time to give banding a try. Our 10-34-0, 9-25-3-3 and 10-30-0-3 are extremely great values compared to DAP at today’s prices. Call your local Co-op for quality crop nutrients.