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Deep Banding Immobile Nutrients




Farming Smarter Collaborative Project

Timeline: 2018 – 2021

Project Contact: Ken Coles


Yield trends continue to improve with the adoption of better genetics and agronomic practices, leaving soils deficient of nutrients in critical periods. Relatively immobile nutrients may be accumulating near the soil surface due to adoption of zero tillage and shallow banding. Periodic (three years) deep banding (5-6”) of immobile nutrients will be compared to annual shallow banding to provide and economically and agronomically viable solution to achieve potential yields and increased return on investment.


  • Increase the efficiency of P, K, and Cu fertilizers to improve production of canola, peas and wheat on direct seeded fields
  • Assess if deep banding of immobile nutrients will reduce nutrient stratification while it improves nutrient uptake and crop production on land previously under direct seeding
  • Compare one-time deep banding (3 times of recommended rate) at start and annual shallow banding (current practice) of their recommended rates.


The three study sites (Falher, Vegreville & Lethbridge) will cover different soils (brown, black and grey) and growing season conditions (long, medium and short) to represent most areas of Alberta and other parts of western Canada. The study uses fields under direct seeding for 10 or more years. Research technicians will deep band fertilizers at 5-6” depth with 3 times the normal rate before seeding in year one with direct seeding implements. The study will take place on canola, wheat and pea crops.


  • Check: No P, K, or Cu
  • Shallow Band P: Recommended P rate (annual)
  • Shallow Band K: Recommended K rate (annual)
  • Shallow Band Cu: Recommended Cu rate (annual)
  • Shallow Band P+K+Cu: Recommended P+K+Cu (annual)
  • Deep Band P: Recommended P x 3 rate (year one)
  • Deep Band K: Recommended K x 3 rate (year one)
  • Deep Band Cu: Recommended Cu x 3 rate (year one)
  • Deep Band P+K+Cu: Recommended P+K+Cu x 3 rate (year one)


We’re still working on this project! We’ll update as soon as we have more results.

Check back 2021!



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