Right now, farmers across the United States are deciding whether to apply starter fertilizer to their corn fields. For operations looking to include additional nutrients, starter fertilizer offers the opportunity. However, others have backed away from the practice — as research has not definitively supported the practice in widespread use.

Dan Kaiser, University of Minnesota Extension nutrient management specialist and Jeff Vetsch, soil scientist, offer producers on the fence five factors to consider when deciding between fertilizing or not.

1. Consider the potential benefits for your field.
2. Think about the nutrients your field needs and their placement options.
3. Look for which different starters are available and whether they match your field needs.
4. Weigh ortho-phosphate against polyphosphate.
5. Base your rate on your selected placement and nutrients.

Read more on starter fertilizer here.