Improving Fertilizer Efficiency

Maximizing every dollar of fertilizer inputs is more important than ever. Those who are successful at it will not only maximize yield and profitability, but also minimize the environmental impact that can occur with nutrient loss.

Achieving this goal was the subject of CropLife Media Group’s Webinar, “How To Improve Nitrogen And Phos­phorus Fertilizer Efficiency.” Dale Leikam, president of Leikam AgroMax, Jake Sanders, Specialty Fertilizer Products (SFP) vice president, and CropLife Media Group’s Paul Schrimpf discussed management techniques and tools to enhance efficiency.

Enhancing Fertilizer Efficiency

Leikam recommends taking a broader look at fertilizer usage and yield results to get a clearer picture of efficiency.

“We need to develop a better understanding of what has happened long term on a particular field and base our future decisions on that as opposed to just a single year,” he

says. “We get lulled into thinking nutrient use will continue to climb, but in actuality it hasn’t changed much since 1985. And phosphorus (P) and potash applications in the U.S. have actually declined. These are concerns that need to be addressed in the future.”

Leikam says sound crop nutrition programs are essential for high nitrogen (N) use efficiency. “There’s an emphasis on the importance of applying P, if needed, along with N in a balanced fertility program,” he says. “Adequate P reduces soil nitrate and the potential for nitrate leaching.”

Nutrient availability and uptake are two completely different things and should be addressed separately, Leikam stresses.

“Too often we think of these two interchangeably,” he says. “In the past, we’ve looked at it from the standpoint of availability and haven’t looked at it from uptake.”

Tools For Fertilizer Efficiency

When it comes to P, SFP’s Sanders points to a significant problem that impacts its effectiveness: poor efficiency.

“We lose about 75% to 95% of P in the year of application,” Sanders says. “This happens because P has a negative charge on it just like a magnet, and it comes together with other elements in the soil that are positively charged. These elements tie up that P and leave it unavailable to the crop that year. That’s a horrible inefficiency. We wanted to tackle this problem and that’s where AVAIL comes in.”

AVAIL is a water-soluble polymer with a very high negative charge, Sanders explains. When that polymer is put into a granular or liquid P material, it diffuses out into the soil and interfaces with those positive charges that would typically tie up the P.

“So we can hold those positives in that AVAIL polymer for about 10 to 12 months, and that’s going to give a good season of P availability,” he says.

Sanders says N faces a similar efficiency problem as P.

“We can lose up to 50% N, possibly even more under extreme conditions,” he says. “This is possibly due to volatilization, nitrification, and leaching. NutriSphere-N is designed to prevent those mechanisms of loss. We want to keep that N exactly where we put it, which is available to that crop.”

NutriSphere-N starts with a base polymer that contains an enormous negative charge. “NutriSphere is going to sweep those positive charges out of that urea, and deactivate that enzyme to allow that urea to stay where we put it,” Sanders says.

Leave a Reply

Fertilizer Stories

Crop Inputs2013 West Texas Tragedy Ruled A ‘Criminal Act’ [Updated]
May 11, 2016
A 2013 fertilizer plant blast in West, TX, that killed 15 people and injured 160 others was caused by a Read More
Young Corn Field
Crop NutritionEnhancing In-Season Nitrogen Use Efficiency Is In The Details
May 5, 2016
Spring is here and crops are in the ground. Do you have a plan for your nitrogen during the growing Read More
Truck dumping dry fertilizer
FertilizerFertilizer Logistics Q&A: Southern States’ Joe Wlodkoski
May 2, 2016
Joe Wlodkoski, Director of Agronomy Procurement, Fertilizer, Southern States Cooperative, is a 40-plus year fertilizer industry veteran. He is quite Read More
West Central Dome structure
FertilizerFertilizer Logistics 2016: All Clear, So Far
May 1, 2016
After a relatively hairy early start to the spring fertilizer movement season with flooding in Louisiana and St. Louis, things Read More
Trending Articles
Eric SfiligojPity The Monsanto Haters
May 23, 2016
An old saying goes thus: “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.” Given current events, there Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Crop InputsReport: Bayer Eyeing Monsanto For Possible Mega-Merger
May 16, 2016
Bayer AG is exploring a potential bid for U.S. competitor Monsanto Co. in a deal that would create the world’s Read More
Aerial Drone
Precision AgA Deeper Dive Into The Future Of Precision Ag
May 9, 2016
For about two decades now, through the good and the bad times, the ups and the downs inherent in agriculture, Read More
Palmer amaranth in soybean stubble
HerbicidesWSSA: Billions In Potential Economic Losses From Uncontrolled Weeds
May 4, 2016
What losses would corn and soybean growers experience if they were forced to eliminate herbicides and other control techniques from Read More
Eric SfiligojReasons For Hope In Commodity Prices
May 2, 2016
For many months now, the doomsayers have ruled the day in agriculture. Too much supply with too little demand would Read More
Eric SfiligojMissing The Family Ties In Agriculture
April 25, 2016
By its nature, the agriculture market is cyclical. Up and down cycles come and go with a regular pattern. For Read More
Latest News
Corn close up
Crop InputsArysta LifeScience Establishes Global Headquarters In R…
May 25, 2016
Arysta LifeScience has announced plans to relocate its global headquarters from West Palm Beach, FL, to Cary, NC, over the Read More
fertilizer blending and storage, Top 100
BlendersCHS Dakota Expansion Features AGCO’s GSI InterSys…
May 25, 2016
The continued growth of precision agriculture has increased farmer use of customized fertilizer blends best-suited for their soil conditions. Several Read More
ManagementAgriculture 3.5: A Bumpy Road Ahead
May 24, 2016
You may have read my article a few years ago on Agriculture 3.0, which is a term I coined to Read More
Topcon’s X30 display with CropSpec sensors
EquipmentGPS Autosteer Systems: Product Updates From Precision A…
May 24, 2016
Throughout 2015 GPS Steering solutions continued to evolve from what was once an after-market add on, to today’s cab where Read More
Trimble TMX-2050 In-Cab Display
Eric SfiligojThe Precision Ag Revolution Continues
May 24, 2016
It’s funny how much “the first time” tends to mean to someone as they get older. I sometimes can’t recall Read More
Eric Wintemute, AMVAC
Precision AgAMVAC Ups The Ante With New Precision Ag Technology
May 24, 2016
A potentially industry-changing at-plant soil treatment system from American Vanguard Corp., or AMVAC, is coming soon to large growers in Read More
Dry and Liquid Plant
CropLife 100CropLife 100 Map
May 24, 2016
The new CropLife 100 map shows the locations of each of the headquarters of the 2015 CropLife 100 retailers. The interactive Read More
Southern States Cooperative
Corn Field
Industry NewsTiger-Sul Names Veteran Account Manager To Lead Central…
May 23, 2016
With the continuing growth of the sulphur bentonite and precision crop nutrient industry, global agriculture firm H.J. Baker has announced that Read More
Bayer sign
Industry NewsReuters: Bayer Defies Critics With $62 Billion Monsanto…
May 23, 2016
German drugs and crop chemicals group Bayer has offered to buy U.S. seeds company Monsanto for $62 billion in cash, Read More
Eric SfiligojPity The Monsanto Haters
May 23, 2016
An old saying goes thus: “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.” Given current events, there Read More
Industry NewsCompass Minerals Hires Industry Veteran To Lead Plant N…
May 19, 2016
Compass Minerals has hired plant nutrition industry veteran Vatren Jurin to steer the company’s portfolio expansion into specialty liquid micronutrient Read More
ASMARK Retailers LIVE! Tour 2016 Group shot The Andersons
CropLife 100The Andersons Rejects Unsolicited Proposal From HC2
May 19, 2016
The Andersons, Inc. has announced that its Board of Directors has rejected two non-binding, highly conditional, unsolicited proposals from HC2 Read More
glyphosate
Crop InputsWHO: Glyphosate ‘Unlikely’ To Cause Cancer
May 16, 2016
Via Reuters.com reporter Kate Kelland: The weed-killing pesticide glyphosate, made by Monsanto and widely used in agriculture and by gardeners, Read More
dicamba, Roundup Ready 2 Xtend
Crop InputsASA: No Dicamba On Roundup Ready 2 Xtend In 2016
May 16, 2016
While Roundup Ready 2 Xtend (RR2X) are tolerant to dicamba and glyphosate herbicides, no dicamba herbicides will be approved for Read More
CPP, glyphosate, dicamba, atrazine,
Crop InputsReport: Congress Pressing EPA On Glyphosate Review Hand…
May 16, 2016
Via Reuters.com reporter P.J. Huffstutter: U.S. lawmakers have asked EPA to explain why it published – and then withdrew – Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Crop InputsReport: Bayer Eyeing Monsanto For Possible Mega-Merger
May 16, 2016
Bayer AG is exploring a potential bid for U.S. competitor Monsanto Co. in a deal that would create the world’s Read More
ManagementAsmark Institute Tour Observations
May 12, 2016
Special Guest CropLife Field Editor Matthew Grassi discusses his week-long visit with 45 ag retailers as part of the Asmark Read More