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.

Webinar On-Demand

If you missed last month’s Webinar, “How To Improve Nitrogen And Phosphorus Fertilizer Efficiency,” you can view the archived version now. Visit CropLife.com/webinars to register.
Registration is courtesy of SFP.

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

FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
Aerial view of the West Fertilizer explosion site
FertilizerFertilizer Companies Blame City For West, TX, Explosion
August 6, 2014
El Dorado Chemical Co. and CF Industries contend the city failed to properly train the first responders and had insufficient protocols in place to battle the April 17, 2013, blaze at West Fertilizer Co. that triggered the explosion. Read More
FertilizerThe Fertilizer Institute: New President, Renewed Energy
February 3, 2014
Chris Jahn relishes the opportunity to lead the organization through the challenging times ahead. Read More
FertilizerA New Cycle For Fertilizer Demand
January 2, 2014
Changes in the corn market could have a major impact on the crop nutrients sector in 2014, say experts. Read More

Top 100 Articles

CropLife 100CHS: Driving Momentum To Help Farmer-Owners Grow
December 11, 2014
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, must capture new opportunities to Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT, Verdesian Ink Distribution Agreement
December 9, 2014
The agreement grants BRANDT the exclusive right to sell and market Verdesian’s patented Steric chemistry in the Turf and Ornamental and eastern U.S. ag markets under the BRANDT Reaction product line name. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: The Colors Of Custom Application
December 5, 2014
Although many color spray rigs are in the yards of the nation’s top ag retailers, the majority of them still come in only a few shades. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Invests In Meridian Agriculture Distribution
December 4, 2014
Meridian will provide retailers with supplier-branded products and numerous opportunities to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: Entering A New Seed Era
December 4, 2014
The seed category has been re-vitalized during the past few years, and more good news (and varieties) are headed the industry’s way in 2015. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: The Depressed State Of Fertilizer
December 3, 2014
Following downright giddy growth earlier this decade, fertilizer sales have fallen back down to earth the past two years. Read More

Latest News

FertilizerGlobal Fertilizer Market: Cloudy With A Chance Of Sprin…
December 22, 2014
While spring demand in the Northern Hemisphere will prevent prices from slipping significantly, Rabobank believes that lower farmer margins will incent farmers to be more prudent in fertilizer application. Read More
Management2014: Looking Back, Looking Forward
December 22, 2014
Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss key emerging issues from the year past that retailers will be watching closely in Read More
FungicidesAlfalfa Expert: Root Rot More Widespread Than Previousl…
December 22, 2014
Once thought of as a wet-soil disease, aphanomyces root rot is more widespread than many realize. Read More
Seed/BiotechKaren Arthur Joins AgriThority As Seed Treatment Produc…
December 19, 2014
Prior to joining AgriThority, Arthur directed research and development programs, overseeing laboratory and field research, to build the Valent U.S.A. seed treatment portfolio. Read More
EquipmentJohn Deere To Sell Crop Insurance Business
December 19, 2014
Deere & Co. has reached a definitive agreement to sell its crop insurance business, subject to regulatory approval, to Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. of Iowa. Read More
Crop InputsNufarm Fills Regulatory VP Position
December 18, 2014
Nufarm announced today that Rob Schwehr has been promoted to the position of Vice President of Innovation & Regulatory Affairs for Nufarm Americas. Read More
Seed/BiotechReport: China Approves Viptera Corn, U.S. Officials Awa…
December 17, 2014
Chinese authorities have informed some agriculture industry officials the government has approved U.S. imports of a type of genetically modified corn developed by Syngenta. Read More
FertilizerMonty’s Plant Food Brings In New Sales Rep
December 16, 2014
Monty's Plant Food Company has hired Warren Kearns as its newest Sales Representative for the South Carolina area. Read More
EquipmentHagie Wins 2014 CropLife IRON Product Of The Year Award
December 15, 2014
The self-propelled sprayer maker has a hit on its hands with the new STS Series model. Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Sees China Approving Contentious GMO Corn Soon
December 15, 2014
Syngenta will make an announcement when it receives official documentation from China that Agrisure Viptera corn, known as MIR 162, has been cleared for import. Read More
Crop InputsVerdesian Life Sciences Names Vice President Of Communi…
December 15, 2014
Amy Bugg will oversee the execution of all promotional strategies for the corporate brand and the complete product portfolio. Read More
StewardshipFarmers, Retailers Attend 4R Certification 4U Workshop
December 15, 2014
More than 160 farmers and ag retailer attended the “4R Certification 4U” workshop December 12 to learn more about the 4Rs of nutrient stewardship, water quality research in the area and cost-sharing opportunities. Read More
Matt Hopkins10 Best New Agriculture Apps For 2015
December 15, 2014
These new agriculture apps are certain to help ag professionals do their jobs more efficiently in 2015 and beyond. Read More
ManagementARA Learnings, Retail Buying Intentions: Welcome To Cro…
December 12, 2014
This informal video program puts news and events effecting retailers into context, and features Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Herbicide-Tolerant Technology Closer To Commer…
December 12, 2014
The final EIS moves Monsanto one step closer to the introduction of Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, paving the way to provide access to dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. Read More
Seed/BiotechUSDA Issues Final Environmental Impact Statement On Her…
December 12, 2014
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is issuing a final environmental impact statement on varieties of cotton and soybeans that have been genetically engineered for resistance to several herbicides, including the one known as dicamba. Read More
CropLife 100CHS: Driving Momentum To Help Farmer-Owners Grow
December 11, 2014
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, must capture new opportunities to Read More
LegislationARA Applauds CFATS Passage Prior To Holiday Adjournment
December 11, 2014
The streamlined bill provides a four-year authorization of the CFATS program and guidance to DHS on key issues of chemical facility security Read More