NC State Extension Publications


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Fertilizer burn can occur to the soybean seed from an in-furrow application and to the foliage from a foliar application. An in-furrow application can cause salt injury or ammonium toxicity to the soybean seed. Fertilizer is somewhat rarely applied to soybeans over-the-crop, however if it is done fertilizer burn can occur depending on source and concentration.


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In-furrow applications of fertilizer in close proximity to the soybean seed can cause burn and ultimately reduce emergence and stand. Dry soils can intensify seedling injury. Foliar applications of certain fertilizers, such as UAN, can cause burning of leaf tissue.

Photo of fertilizer burn in soybeans

Fertilizer burn in soybeans.

Courtesy of Dominic Reisig, NC State Extension specialist

Photo of soybean field fertilizer burn

Soybean fertilizer burn.

Courtesy of Dominic Reisig, NC State Extension specialist


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Ensure fertilizer placement does not occur in direct contact with the soybean seed to minimize burn potential and avoid using in-furrow applications under extremely dry conditions where injury is more likely. If soybean foliage is burned from a fertilizer application, the plant can typically recover and long as the majority of leaf area remains unaffected. Use of drop nozzles is one way to minimize crop injury when making foliar fertilizer applications.


Assistant Professor and Extension Soybean Specialist
Crop & Soil Sciences
Extension Intern
Crop & Soil Sciences

Find more information at the following NC State Extension websites:

Publication date: Aug. 4, 2020

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