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 100The Andersons Starts Venture Capital Subsidiary
January 26, 2015
The Andersons has established Maumee Ventures, a venture capital subsidiary designed to foster promising innovations that strategically align with the company’s core businesses. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Partners With Northern Partners Coop On Fertilizer Warehouse
January 21, 2015
In addition, the two companies will form a joint venture to build and operate a grain barge loading facility that will handle corn, soybeans and wheat for export through the CHS terminal at Myrtle Grove, LA. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Move To Colorado Complete
January 20, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co. announces the opening of its new Agribusiness Division location in the Denver, CO, Metro Area. The new facility will host key personnel as the company shifts the base of its Agribusiness operations from California to Colorado. Read More
CropLife 100United Suppliers, McGregor Co., Five Others To Form Aligned Ag Distributors
January 20, 2015
These companies will continue to operate as independently owned and operated businesses, however, their crop protection divisions will now be formally aligned under the umbrella of Aligned Ag Distributors. Read More
CropLife 100Bozeman Named SEEDWAY Chief Operating Officer
January 16, 2015
He succeeds Donald Wertman, who will retire at the end of August 2015 after 40 years with the GROWMARK subsidiary. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis’ Craig Bair Honored For Safety Contributions To Ag Aviation
January 14, 2015
The William O. Marsh Safety Award recognizes significant achievements in safety, safety education or an outstanding operational safety program. Read More
Latest News
Frogeye Leaf Spot on soybean
FungicidesFungicides Promising Yield Bumps In Tough Times
February 1, 2015
Some exciting newcomers should make selling fungicides easier. Read More
Seed/BiotechDow Details Enlist Trait Stacking Standards
January 30, 2015
Dow says it will allow the Enlist trait to be stacked with advanced glyphosate traits only, and will not allow stacking with the first generation of the Roundup Ready trait. Read More
ManagementCropLife Retail Week: IFCA’s Jean Payne on Illinois wat…
January 30, 2015
Editor Eric Sfiligoj shares insight from the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association conference including a chat with IFCA President Jean Read More
ManagementOABA Conference Set To Highlight Trends, Technology And…
January 29, 2015
The third annual Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) Industry Conference is set to take place February 4-5. Read More
FertilizerThe Fertilizer Institute President Jahn Testifies Befor…
January 28, 2015
The committee hearing, "Freight Rail Transportation: Enhancing Safety, Efficiency, and Commerce," looked at challenges facing our nation's freight rail network created by higher demand, rules and regulations and infrastructure needs. Read More
HerbicidesPurdue University Acquires Technology For Herbicide Mol…
January 28, 2015
Protea's LAESI DP-1000 Instrument System will be used in Purdue's College of Agriculture, the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, for the molecular imaging of herbicide active ingredients and other related compounds to optimize herbicide applications and improve weed management.  Read More
FertilizerH.J. Baker Hires New Crop Peformance Marketing Manager
January 27, 2015
As Marketing Manager for the Crop Performance division, Usman Khalid will work out of H.J. Baker’s global headquarters in Westport, CT, and will drive new initiatives for the division. Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Starts Venture Capital Subsidiary
January 26, 2015
The Andersons has established Maumee Ventures, a venture capital subsidiary designed to foster promising innovations that strategically align with the company’s core businesses. Read More
Exclusive state-of-the art Stueve Construction designed “Vista View” Elevated Control Room.
Eric Sfiligoj2015 Agricultural Market Read: Mixed
January 26, 2015
The agricultural market could look radically different this year, profit-wise, depending upon which segment you do business in. Read More
Edward Chell Biosafe
Crop InputsBioSafe Systems Names Ed Chell California Territory Man…
January 26, 2015
BioSafe Systems has announced the recent addition of Ed Chell as California Territory Manager for the agrichemical division, supporting the crop protection, water treatment and food safety business segments. Read More
InsecticidesBayer CropScience Introduces Sivanto Insecticide
January 26, 2015
Sivanto precisely targets key damaging pests at multiple insect life stages to prevent damage to plants and help minimize the spread of diseases from insect carriers. Read More
ManagementRetail Collaboration, Communicating Agriculture’s Good …
January 23, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the recent creation of Aligned Ag Distributors, and the US Farmers and Ranchers Read More
FertilizerOSU Expert: Toledo Water Crisis A Turning Point For Ohi…
January 23, 2015
The August 2014 water crisis in Toledo, OH, impacted Ohioans’ views of Lake Erie algae problems by increasing the attribution of blame of algae growth on agriculture. Read More
FertilizerH.J. Baker Launching TIGER XP
January 22, 2015
Tiger-Sul introduces this next generation sulphur-bentonite product with a proprietary activator – ensuring farmers have a well-balanced nutrient replacement program. Read More
Crop InputsH.J. Baker Expands China Sales Force
January 21, 2015
Global Agricultural firm H.J. Baker announced that sales veteran Shi Dongshen has joined their Shanghai office in China. This newest hire follows the recent opening of their Lianyungang Sulphur Bentonite Plant. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Partners With Northern Partners Coop On Fertilizer …
January 21, 2015
In addition, the two companies will form a joint venture to build and operate a grain barge loading facility that will handle corn, soybeans and wheat for export through the CHS terminal at Myrtle Grove, LA. Read More
Matt Hopkins5 Bold Predictions For Ag Retail In 2015
January 21, 2015
This past year was filled with ups and downs for the nation’s top ag retailers, but what will 2015 have in store? Read More
SoftwareDeere Launches App Center
January 20, 2015
The John Deere App Center provides users the ability to search and find apps most useful to their business or operations. Read More