Liquid Fertilizer Research

Fertilizer placement to improve crop nutrient acquisition and yield

Being at the right place at the right time isn’t just for stockbrokers. Commonly applied by broadcast, fertilizer is best when placed directly in the soil. This allows it to get close to seeds or plant roots to ensure high nutrient availability (e.g. improved plant nutrient acquisition, uptake and content) and a better yield. There are a variety of fertilizer placement techniques available.

Liqui-Grow’s Liquid Fertilizer Distribution Tips:

  • Liquid applicators are able to deliver the same rate of fertilizer from the first to the last foot of each pass
  • Due to differences in granular fertilizer densities, product quality and ballistics, spinner disc spreaders cannot uniformly distribute dry granular fertilizers across a full spread pattern.
  • Corn yield losses of 3% on average have been reported in University studies comparing uniformly and non-uniformly distributed P & K fertilizer (Virk et al., 2013)
  • Fluid sources of fertilizer dissolve in solution, are held in high suspension by clay, agitated to keep in suspension
  • The failure to maintain fertilizer blends causes some fertilizer sources to be spread at higher or lower rates than intended – reducing fertilizer efficiency & yield potentials
  • Fluid suspensions allow for uniform application, targeted banding, and prescribed recommendations using standard high-capacity liquid flotation equipment.
  • Micronutrients can be applied uniformly for crop nutrition, even at low rates, consistent with crop removal levels. Not necessary to over-apply micros in order to improve application pattern.
  • Liquid suspensions have highly water-soluble nutrients which expedite movement into soil solution for improved plant uptake.
Green tractor pulling a sprayer though a farm field.

Why are Liquid Suspension Fertilizers Superior to Dry Granular Fertilizers

Aerial view of a chemical fertilizer warehouse with train tracks and roads leading to it.
Nutrients can be fully utilized by plant roots Liquid suspensions are easier to place in concentrated bands, which improves nutrient uptake by diffusion of phosphorous and decreasing physical tie-up of potassium. Banded nutrients are less likely to be fixed in the soil due to chemical and physical tie-up. Unlike dry granular fertilizers which spread with a spinner disc spreader, liquid suspension fertilizers can be evenly distributed from the first to last foot of each and every pass within a field. Granular fertilizers segregate during transportation, causing higher or lower rates of fertilizer to be applied than intended, but liquid suspension fertilizers remain in solution, and the same rate of fertilizer is applied to each and every acre. Liquid application equipment is more cost-efficient to operate than Air-Flow machines, designed to mimic the even application of fluids. Strip-till injection toolbars that utilize dry fertilizer application are expensive to purchase, require a great deal of horsepower to pull and use alot of fuel. It can be a challenge to cover significant numbers of acres using a Dry strip-till bar. Liquid phosphorus has been shown to remain plant-available longer than dry forms of phosphorus fertilizer. Even fertilizer distribution—applying the correct rate on each and every acre—and increased plant availability means liquid suspension fertilizers will often produce more bushels compared to an equivalent rate of dry granular fertilizer. Follow the links below to learn more. Fertilizer Distribution data (PDF) Liquid vs Dry Fertilizer facts (PDF)

The Research

The University of Minnesota Extension | Using banded fertilizer for corn production

The University of Minnesota Extension | Understanding phosphorus fertilizers

Kansas State University | Fertilizing for Irrigated Corn
PowerPoint Presentation (
Surface-Banding-Superior-To-Broadcasting-On-Reduced-Till.pdf (
SEED SAFE 6-24-6-2.5 (ZN) 50/50
Compared to Low Salt 6-24-6 80/20

A tractor with sprayer arms distributing liquid fertilizer on a soybean field in the morning.

The Twin State Advantage

tractor in field applying fertilizer

For more than 60 years, Twin State has insisted on offering farmers only the best products using the highest quality ingredients to be used in our production process. Products that are designed to handle easily, safely, and provide an economical option for your crop nutrient needs.
We’ve got the knowledge and research condensed down for you. Based on that, we can tell you which product we think works best early in the growth stage of your crops and where to procure it in your local area.

Give Frank or Del a call regarding your fertility program and applying starter fertilizers. We can help you navigate your product choices and placement options to best fit your operation.

Email Del

If you have any questions about fertilizer sales in Iowa or Minnesota, Del can help you out. Fill out the form below to send him a message.

Contact Del Tjepkes

Email Frank

If you have any questions about fertilizer sales in Illinois or Wisconsin, Frank can help you out. Fill out the form below to send him a message.

Contact Frank Masters