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1. What is the purpose of the AgroVantage System?

• The Conklin AgroVantage System is intended to provide the producer with a specific fertility
recommendation based upon soil analysis and management practices. This allows the grower to
produce a normal or higher yield at the same or less cost than other fertility programs. It is not a
replacement for poor management but rather a management tool that growers can use to receive
higher yields and profits.

2. How can so little do so much?

• The suggested rates for Feast 9-18-9, 3-18-18, and 8-24-0 are based on research. This research,
which is available, evaluated economic starter fertilizer performance in terms of plant response and
showed that Feast products are most effective at 3 to 5 gallons per acre when applied in-row. Feast
fertilizers are not designed to totally replace broadcast applications, but to supplement them and
give plants an added boost at critical growth stages. The correct rate is best determined by a soil
test. If residual fertility levels for P and K are high enough, the P and K provided by the starter may
be all that is necessary in that growing season. Soil test levels should then be monitored before
rotation to the next crop to determine future fertility needs for subsequent crops. If residual P and K
levels stay in a high to very high range, there is little value in applying additional broadcast fertilizers.

3. Are all 9-18-9's the same? Why are some products cheaper per gallon?

• Field trials over several years demonstrate that there are some definite differences in performance
when comparing various hot-mix products that are being marketed. If all 9-18-9 and 3-18-18
products were the same, we would expect them to perform the same. There are a number of ways
to reduce the quality and performance of hot-mix liquid fertilizers. These have been summarized in
a separate information sheet that is available.

4. If a farmer has been using 200 to 250 lbs. per acre of 9-23-30 dry fertilizer, how much Feast should he use?

• First of all, is the producer sure that this is the optimum rate to apply on every acre in terms of crop
performance and return on the fertilizer dollar invested? Or, is this just the rate being applied
because "that's the way we've done it for years," or "that's what people in this area put on," or some
other general rule of thumb? Fertilizer is only profitable when the rate applied produces a return
after subtracting the cost of the treatment and that compared to using nothing at all. High rates of
fertilizer are certainly not always profitable and may not be environmentally desirable either. Again,
soil analysis will provide a basis upon which sound decisions can be made. At medium to high soil
test levels, a starter band of P and K applied at corn planting time is superior, particularly on soils
that are slow to warm up. Most often on corn, 9-23-30 and other dry starter fertilizers are applied in
a 2 x 2 band (2 inches to the side and 2 inches below the seed), while Feast products are applied
directly with the seed (OxO) at planting for the majority of soils. 2 x 2 applications are considered to
be 2 to 4 times more efficient, while O x O applications are considered to be 3 to 5 times more
efficient, than broadcast applications. Again, as a starter fertilizer, Feast products are recommended
at 3 to 5 gallons per acre. In general, these rates will replace ranges of 24 to 40 lbs. of P2O5 per
acre (broadcast equivalent) and 12 to 20 lbs. of K2O per acre (broadcast equivalent) for 9-18-9, with
25 to 40 lbs. of P2O5 per acre (broadcast equivalent) and 25 to 40 lbs. of K2O per acre (broadcast
equivalent) for

5. Does an in-row starter program "mine" the soil?

• This question is based on the philosophy of "crop removal" as a fertility principle. The premise is
that you must replace as commercial fertilizer those nutrients that are removed in the grain, or the
soil will be depleted or "mined." Unfortunately, while this method is mathematically easy, it is
oversimplified agronomically. According to the University of Minnesota, this method can be very
expensive, since many soils are capable of supplying a good share of the nutrients a crop needs.
Therefore, there is no point putting it all back in a fertilizer program. The goal should be to feed the
crop to produce a reasonable yield goal and maintain sufficient fertility levels. Research at Iowa
State University has shown that soil test levels decline slowly, even when no fertilizer is applied.
Their tests indicate that under no circumstance would crop removal of P and K result in soil tests
dropping from a high test to a low test in one year. A long-term P and K study in Iowa illustrated this
fact. High soil tests for both nutrients were established at the beginning of the study, and crops were
grown each year without additional P or K. Soil tests did decline, but at a gradual rate. The area
that tested very high in P at the beginning of the experiment still tested high after producing crops for
11 years. A sound fertility program using Feast and based on soil testing will help to increase soil
fertility through balanced residues returned to the soil. The larger root systems from the starter can
contribute significantly to building overall soil fertility. For example, Purdue estimates that the root
system alone on corn that yields 150 bushels per acre contains 30 pounds of P2O5, 60 pounds of
K2O, and 9 pounds of sulfur. There is also some evidence to suggest that certain nutrients, once
taken into the plant via root uptake and later released by decaying organic matter, have a relatively
higher degree of recoverability by subsequent crops. Placement also plays a key role. Purdue
University has stated that you can build P and K fertility levels 50% faster by banding than by
broadcasting. The real "mining" of a soil occurs when the soil is allowed to erode, and all the
nutrients and organic matter it contains are lost.

6. Why doesn't Conklin offer other cheaper products such as 10-34-0?

• If a producer wants these products, they are available in the marketplace. Our goal with Feast is to
provide a premium material that is designed to deliver optimum performance as a starter fertilizer.
While it is true that Feast is higher priced on a cost per ton basis, on a cost per acre basis it is very
competitive. The lower rates mean you handle less at planting time. And because it is
noncorrosive, Feast does not damage expensive planter components. Finally, as with most inputs,
the cheapest product to buy is often the most expensive product to use.

7. I'm using dry starter now, and it works for me. Why should I change?

• If you are completely satisfied with your program, then you shouldn't change. However, it has been
said that if you keep doing the same things you will get the same results. So if you want better
results you will have to do something differently. Almost all crop producers say they want better
results. They demand better equipment and better seed varieties and hybrids. And they are
demanding better results from applied fertilizers. Often, Feast users began buying the product
because they wanted more precise placement of starter nutrients, or they wanted a true solution
liquid that would give every seed exactly the same amount of plant food. Some Feast users were
tired of handling a lot of dry fertilizer, while others did not like the extreme corrosiveness of dry and
conventional liquid products. Others switched to a Feast program because it allowed them to
reduce their overall fertility costs per acre, or because their neighbors were getting superior yield
results with Feast. The real testimony to the success of Feast is the large number of growers who
started with the product and have stayed with it, some going on 16 years since the Feast
introduction in 1981. These folks won't switch now either, because they have discovered a better
way to fertilize.

8. I rotate corn and soybeans so I fertilize for next year's beans with this year's corn fertilizer program.

How can your program do this?
• The concept of applying extra fertilizer to provide the needs of two crops has more validity today
where double cropping is planned in the same growing season than it does for two crops that are to
be grown in two separate growing seasons, as in a typical corn/soybean rotation. Phosphorus in
particular is very subject to fixation in the soil, and much of it will be tied up by the time the soybeans
are planted. Besides, this represents a "shotgun" approach to fertility, and chances are excellent
that every field does not have the same requirements. With Feast as a starter on corn, we would not
expect a great deal of residual nutrient availability from the fertilizer itself to subsequent crops, such
as soybeans. The design of the starter application to the corn crop is to provide critical nutrition to
the plant in its first 30-60 days by achieving maximum plant food recovery, and setting the stage for
maximum yield this year. Following this, a soil test is recommended before rotation to the next crop.
Some people may say they do not want to test each year because of cost. But, if your soil is already
testing medium to high, why put on fertilizer for two crops whether you need it or not? An
AgroVantage soil test will typically cost $ .40-.60 per acre, much less than guessing and putting on
extra fertilizer as "insurance". If additional fertilizer is needed following corn for soybeans to be
grown, it can be applied either as a starter or as broadcast or as a combination, and on a field by
field prescription basis.

9. I broadcast in the fall so I can plant faster in the spring. Doesn't this liquid program slow me down?

• The fertilizer industry has done a good job selling farmers on this idea. Actually, the industry began
promoting this concept as a means of spreading out its own workload, not because of any
agronomic advantage. The fact is that row-placed P and K are more efficient than broadcast P and
K. Now to the time issue. It takes approximately 30 seconds per acre to handle Feast liquid. On
1,000 acres of corn this represents about 8 hours total time. If, through using Feast, we obtain a
savings on our fertilizer bill of $10 per acre OR achieve a yield increase of 5 bushels per acre at $2
per bushel, the gross is $10,000. This equals $1,250 per hour return for your labor. Factor in
additional savings, such as drier corn at harvest, and the return is even greater. And we are using
very conservative numbers in this example. The fact is, with today's equipment, it takes very little
extra time to handle Feast. With a 200 to 400 gallon tank capacity and 3 to 5 gallons per acre, you
will plant 40-120 acres per fill. This often coincides with stopping to fill the planter with seed.

10. Some producers are spiking 10-34-0 with 28% - I can't do that with your product.

First of all, be aware that UAN solution (28-32%) should not be applied in-row with the seed under
any circumstance. This includes applications in combination with starter fertilizers; UAN will cause
extensive injury to the germinating seed and may result in a complete loss of stand. Therefore,
growers who "spike" 10-34-0 with 28% must deep-place the mixture. Feast fertilizers work best
when applied in-row. Also, there can be serious compatibility problems, including complete salting
out, when highly concentrated solutions such as 9-18-9 or 3-18-18 are mixed with UAN. Therefore,
Conklin does not recommend this practice. Now let's address the idea of adding more N to starter.
If you are going to handle additional N on the planter, why not put it all down and be done with it?
Many growers who have been told to spike their starter will plan to come back later and sidedress,
but you cannot always sidedress when you want to or when you need to because the weather
doesn't cooperate. So this points to the need for more N early, and that's what these growers are
apparently after. Using Conklin's Guardian® nitrogen fertilizer additive with preplant or at-plant
nitrogen will help protect the majority of the N in your program from losses and eliminate the need to
sidedress. We do want a balance of nutrients in our starter, not just N and P. Excessive N and P
can cause the development of early plant diseases, often at the expense of K. This is why Feast
products offer a full complement of N, P, and K to better meet the nutritional needs of the young

11. Will heavy rains wash Feast liquid away?

• Excessive rain and flooding, if sufficient enough to cause soil erosion, will not only wash fertilizers
away (both liquid and dry) but may uproot the plant as well! From a nutrient stand point, the main
element of concern is nitrogen. All the N in Feast starters is ammonium-forming. This form of N has
a positive charge, and as such, is tightly held to the negatively charged soil. So losses of starter N
should be minimal. Phosphorus and potassium are relatively immobile and remain largely
unaffected (unless they are on the soil surface) by spring rains. But again, if the soil itself goes,
everything that's in it goes, also.

12. What kind of support data/university research do you have?

• University data comparing all the different types of fertilizers available today is quite limiting. Ideally,
it would be great to have scientific studies each year on every major soil type and hybrid in every
corn producing state, comparing all different tillage systems and fertilizer materials. That's just not
going to happen. By the time we had 4 or 5 years of data, the hybrids being planted would all
change, and we'd have to start all over. We feel the best way to compare fertilizers is in a side
by side situation under actual, on-farm conditions. The Conklin Regional Test Plot Program was
initiated in 1986 for the purposes of evaluating Feast and other fertilizers and to verify recommended
rates for Feast based on the soil test. This program has provided valuable information in several
states and shown that Feast, while not always the cheapest product per gallon or per ton, delivers
the best return on the starter fertilizer dollar invested. In addition to the regional program, Conklin
has developed an excellent scientific data base on Feast fertilizers with regard to recommended
rates, placement efficiencies, plant growth and yield response, and effectiveness versus broadcast
fertility programs and other liquids such as 10-34-0. Plot summaries are available for these tests as

13. I use only 100 lbs. per acre of 9-23-30 starter, and my county agent says this liquid is too expensive.

• What are you looking for in a starter fertilizer program? Yes, Feast products cost more per ton than
dry fertilizers. However, with Feast you can deliver exactly the same amount of N-P-K to each seed
and to each plant. That is not possible with a dry, bulk blended product like 9-23-30, regardless of
rate. At 3 to 4 gallons per acre, Feast would be very comparable to this rate of
9-23-30 in cost per acre. Chances are, you are applying the same 100 lbs. on every acre. Does
every field require the same rate? With Feast and the proper equipment, which is inexpensive, you
can set your planter up to change rates easily from field to field and even "on the go" within the
same field. You are in better control of your starter fertilizer program.

14. Can Feast Starter Fertilizer be placed with the seed on all crops?

• Some crops are very sensitive and susceptible to fertilizer injury if a fertilizer is placed on the seed.
The susceptible crops are primarily soybeans, cotton, sugar beets, sunflowers and other oil seed
crops. Other crops such as corn and wheat can have potential injuries. If the soil does not fall
within certain criteria for Cation Exchange Capacity (C.E.C.) and percent organic matter, Conklin
does not recommend placing Feast in-row. Conklin recommends soil sampling to determine the
amount of Feast needed and how Feast should be placed (in-row or deep-placed).

15. How much Feast should I use?

• Conklin recommends soil testing to determine the exact amount of Feast required. General
guidelines are available on the back of the specification sheet, but general guidelines will usually
not give the producer the best application rate for all fields.

16. Is Conklin set up to perform soil or plant tissue analysis?

• Conklin does not have the equipment or facilities to perform soil or plant tissue analysis. Midwest
Laboratories in Omaha, Nebraska is set up to do analysis and to generate AgroVantage reports.
Midwest also sells a “Conklin starter kit” which includes two manuals (Agronomy
Handbook and Foliar Nutrition), sample bags, Conklin supplemental forms, and general order forms.
Their phone number is 402-334-7770.
• It is also Conklin's philosophy that we prefer to have a nationally-recognized independent laboratory
evaluate a farmer's soil samples. We have a fundamental disagreement with any fertilizer company
selling fertilizer products that also does its own soil testing.

17. If I already have had a soil analysis report done from another lab, can Conklin make AgroVantagerecommendations?

• Conklin does not have the equipment or facilities to generate AgroVantage recommendations at this
time. To get AgroVantage recommendations generated, send or fax the current soil analysis to
Midwest Laboratories, Inc.
• Their address and telephone fax number are:
Midwest Laboratories, Inc.
13611 “B” Street
Omaha, Nebraska 68144-3693
Fax: (402) 334-9121.
• Midwest will generate the report for a fee.

18. Can any of the Feast fertilizers be used in an irrigation system?

• Feast Yield Master and Profit Master fertilizers are intended to be used in placement or foliar
applications to put the fertilizer where the plant will be best able to utilize the nutrients. Irrigation is a
broadcast method that treats the entire ground surface, and is not the intended method for the
Feast fertilizers. Also, the ortho-phosphate in Feast may react with calcium and magnesium in the
water and plug orifices. Feast Thunderbolt is acceptable in this application, however.

19. What makes Feast fertilizer better than other fertilizers?

• Feast fertilizers, like other Conklin products, start with very high quality raw materials to produce a
high quality finished product. The phosphate in Feast fertilizer is 100% ortho-phosphate which is
available to the plant as soon as the seed germinates. Poly-phosphates need to be converted to
orthophosphate to be used by the plant. Ground temperatures need to be in the mid to high 60° F.
range or higher for the bacteria to be active for this conversion to take place. Feast fertilizer does
not need to be converted to be available to the plant.

  • Early Growth of Corn in Response to Various Rates of
  • Feast® Yield Master™ Starter Fertilizers
Averages of six replications per treatment rate. Plant samples taken when corn was approximately 6” tall, 31 days after planting. There was little additional growth response when recommended rates were exceeded. This means that Feast®starter fertilizers are most cost-effective when applied at recommended rates, preferably as indicated by an AgroVantage®soil test.


  • Profit Advantage Example –
  • Iowa Research Study: Corn
Treatment Gross $ Per Acre from yield Harvest Moisture Advantage $ Per Acre Treatment Cost Net $ Per Acre Yield and moistture advantage
Untreated 143 BPA @ $2.50 (25% harvest moisture) $357.50 - - $357.50
Treated with 4 GPA Feast 3-18-18 150 BPA @$2,50 (22% harvest moisture) $375.00 $11.25 $14.00 $372.25

  • Starter Fertilizer Response
  • Indiana Research Study: Corn

  • Feast®Yield Master™3-18-18 versus
  • Na-Churs/Alpine®Solutions 3-18-18
  • and Yield Plus®3-18-18
  • Carico Farms, Inc. –Falls City, Nebraska
  • 2000 Growing Season
graph Starter Fertilizers Applied at 4 GPA

  • Starter Fertilizer Research
  • 2001 National Research Farm
  • Carico Farms, Inc. –Falls City, Nebraska
04 replications of each treatment, field size plot area

  • Year 2000 —Yield Results and ROI
  • Feast®Yield Master™ 3-18-18 vs. Na-Churs/Alpine
  • Solutions™ 3-18-18 and Yield Plus®3-18-18
The return on investment (ROI) was calculated as follows: Field corn at $2.50/bu; FEAST YIELD MASTER 3-18-18 at $3.59/gal; Yield Plus 3-18-18 at $2.99/gal; Na-Churs/Alpine Solutions 3-18-18 at $2.99/gal (manufacturer’s suggested retail price).•Yield Plus showed a 4.1 bu/A advantage and a -$1.71/A ROI; Na-Churs/Alpine Solutions gave a 5.9 bu/A advantage and +$2.79/A ROI; FEAST YIELD MASTER gave a 10.8 bu/A advantage and a +$12.64/A ROI.
Source: Agri-Growth, Inc., 2000

  • Statistical Comparison of
  • Treatments Year 2000
Treatments Rates Bushels  Per Acre
Feast YIELD MASTER™ 3-18-18 4 Gal per acre 148.2 a
Na-Churs/Alpine Solutions 3-18-18 4 Gal per acre 143.3 b
Yield Plus 3-18-18 4 Gal per acre 141.5 bc
Untreated Control - 137.4 c

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