the application of small amounts of fertilizer in the holes and furrows during sowing or the planting of seedlings. The method was first introduced and used by the agronomist A. E. Zaikevich in 1880 in Kharkov Province. Its use subsequently was adopted in Western Europe, the United States, and Canada.
Starter fertilization provides nutrients to the plants in the first two or three weeks of life, when the developing root system cannot assimilate adequate nutrients from the soil and from primary fertilization. It intensifies the initial growth and development of the plant; increases resistance to weeds, pests, unfavorable climatic conditions, and disease; and raises yields. Starter fertilization may be used on all types of soil. It is done by special sowing and planting machines.
In the USSR, granulated superphosphate is applied to the soil during the planting of cereals, sugar beets, potatoes, cotton, flax, vegetables, and other crops (10–40 kg of P2O5 per hectare). These same crops may be treated with ammonium nitrate, especially on light soddy podzols (10–20 kg of N per hectare; up to 60 kg per hectare for potatoes). Potassium fertilizers are used when planting sugar beets (10–20 kg of K2O per hectare).