Implement Guidance Systems’ Role in Sidedressing Fertilizer

Sidedressing equipment on the field

May 14, 2020

In farming, there are a number of challenging tasks that leave no room for error. Sidedressing fertilizer is one of those unforgiving jobs, where exact precision is key to successful fertilizer application. Get it wrong, and you could cause damage to crops or miss the mark on management goals. Utilizing implement guidance systems, such as ProTrakker, ensures you and your implement stay on track. The ProTrakker team goes in-depth behind the problems growers face while sidedressing, how an advanced tractor guidance system helps eliminate these issues, and what options are available. 

Growers put a lot of care into pre-planting and pre-harvest decision making. The decision to add fertilizer after planting not only helps crops uptake vital nitrogen in the soil but can also boost the yields of crops that are showing higher-than-normal yield potential. Crops that aren’t legumes, like corn, heavily rely on sidedressing to achieve these outcomes. 

When the decision is made for injecting (also called “knifing”) nitrogen into the soil with a sidedressing toolbar, any implement drift can cause the knives of the toolbar to rip up rows of crops. Depending on how far along the crops are in their growth stage, the damage can be unrecoverable for the plants. Even though the operator might be very seasoned in applying N, sidedressing on hills or contours can be especially problematic for hitting the target zones. 

That’s why implement guidance systems are ideal for reducing the risk and achieving optimal application outcomes. Tractor guidance systems, like ProTrakker’s line of hydraulic hitches, are perfect for sidedressing in any environment and terrain. ProTrakker Implement Guidance Systems help ensure that no drop of fertilizer is wasted, keeping your application on track and delivered to the areas where your crops need it the most.

The company’s Side-Hill Sensor™ and control box allow the hydraulic hitch to automatically adjust for the tractor’s degree of slope, keeping the sidedressing toolbar on track. GPS-guided implement tracking options, such as John Deere’s Active Implement Guidance System and Trimble TrueTracker™, also help alleviate any problems caused by implement drift. The precision of ProTrakker systems saves you time and money, reduces operator fatigue, and allows you to increase your yield with efficient use of fertilizer.

For more information about ProTrakker and it’s implement guidance capabilities, visit