2014 Micronutrients: Boron, Manganese Make Waves

With many industry insiders projecting depressed crop input demand throughout several sectors in 2014, it was somewhat surprising to witness the sheer optimism with which many micronutrient manufacturers are viewing the coming season.

“From purely a micronutrient sales perspective, we are just wrapping up our best year ever,” says Kevin Kimm, senior director of marketing, The Mosaic Co., of 2013. “And we continue to anticipate growth through the market difficulties 2014 may bring.”

There are a multitude of plausible explanations for optimism, and Jerry Stoller, president, StollerUSA, envisions growers splitting off into two distinct groups.

“One group will possess adequate capital and will invest in order to maximize income per acre. This group represents approximately 20% of domestic growers,” explains Stoller. “The second group will be those who do not have a surplus of capital. Their investment decisions will be based upon getting the maximum amount of return per dollar invested per acre.

“In my opinion, the 20% will continue to invest at a high level in order to raise corn and grain at the lowest unit production cost, and those in the 80% will tend to invest only in those items which they consider the most important to maximize profits. The former group will use micronutrients at a significantly high level and continue to have a balanced fertility program, while those of the latter group will come to restrict the use of micronutrients, as their purchases will be significantly lower than in 2012 and 2013, when grain prices were higher.”

Meanwhile, Eramet-Comilog, Inc.’s Jim Crane, agro sales and marketing manager, sees the level of enlightenment surrounding micronutrient application as the primary reason manufacturers will continue to thrive in 2014.

“Under similar conditions, I think four or five years ago people would have cut back on micros,” he says. “Now there’s more awareness around their importance, and a lot of that has to do with seed itself. A lot of these newer, high-powered hybrids demand a complete input portfolio package, so more micros are going on corn and soybeans than ever before.”

Reformulating For Success

Tom Pekarek, specialty dept. manager, United Suppliers, seconds Crane’s notion. “I think there are growers out there that do look at nutritionals as an area they can perhaps cut back on, but we very strongly discourage it,” he says. “Micronutrients are tied so closely with seed nowadays that we don’t see much of a chance for a market downturn. With today’s genetics we are very capable of producing 300 bu. corn, but if you pull back on nutritionals you won’t come anywhere close to that level of output.”

Pekarek’s outfit offers the standard full line of micronutrients, from boron to zinc, and he estimates that approximately 60% of the company’s micronutrient revenues come from granular formulations of sulfur and zinc.

“There’s just less sulfur in the atmosphere today with the restrictions on coal burning, so we’re finding most soils are in need of it,” explains Pekarek. “And zinc sulphate is just all over the board right now, it’s crazy. West of the Missouri River is a huge zinc sulphate use area, as well as sulfur.”

Pekarek also acknowledges the recent proliferation in starter and foliar-applied fertility programs having been a boon for United Suppliers.

“There’s been a large increase in starter fertilizer business, and foliar application of micronutrients has increased dramatically over the past 10 years, and we’ve seen good starter and foliar business growth around our liquid formulations,” he says. “Today foliar application of micronutrients has become almost a standard practice in corn and beans.”

Chelated zinc and manganese applications are also on the rise, he says. “There’s some really good data from Don Huber at Purdue University that shows manganese uptake is repressed by glyphosate, especially in soybeans, so at times growers using glyphosate post-emerge need to almost flood the soil with manganese to make sure enough gets into the plant.”

Looking ahead, the company Pekarek pronounces as “totally focused on our retail owners” is gearing its lineup for the coming approval of dicamba and 2,4-D traited seed. “There’s some concern, especially from the dicamba side, on not having any ammoniacal nitrogen in those tank mixtures (with glyphosate), so we’re working on reformulations to make sure our micronutrients are tank mixable with both glyphosate and dicamba, because today’s grower wants to get as many actives into that tank mix as possible.”

A Boron Bonanza

Meanwhile, The Mosaic Co. is excitedly gearing up for a spring soft launch of its newest micronutrient product, Aspire (Potassium Chloride plus Boron).

After soil testing, growers often times find boron is the second most needed micronutrient in their soils.
After soil testing, growers often times find boron is the second most needed micronutrient in their soils.

“Our growers are soil testing and many times they are finding boron is the second most needed micro in their soils,” says Mosaic’s Kimm. “We’re excited and our customers are excited to get their hands on the first new potash product to come out in quite a while.”

Aspire, which comes in a dry, granular formulation, was released to a select group of retailers in 2013 for hands-on evaluation. Kimm says there has been nothing but positive comments on the quality of the product.

“These products (MicroEssentials and Aspire) are considered foundational crop nutrition products in that they’re N, P and K-based, but they also allow for a more balanced crop nutrition plan,” he says.

According to Mosaic, results from Aspire research trials are in the process of being finalized and will be made available in March.

“Each time we raise the level of yield on an acre, we’re asking for our soils to be able to do more and more,” says Dr. Kyle Freeman, manager of new product development. “And now I think we’ve seen a point with the new genetics where we are, in some cases, asking more from the soil than it’s able to deliver, so we need to continue to supplement our soil with proper nutrition.”

H.J. Baker & Bros., along with its subsidiary Tiger-Sul Products, is also hawking a relatively new boron product, according to Martin Campfield, director of product management and international sales. “We did very well with our iron, manganese and zinc mixes, as well as our new boron mix, and we in fact exceeded our goals as 2013 was an outstanding year,” he says.

TIGER Boron, which Campfield describes as “breaking the barrier of boron deficiency in crop yields,” is registered in all 50 states for the coming season.

“Boron deficiency has been described as ‘a more extensive deficiency than of any other plant micronutrient’ and fixing the problem has been challenging for producers,” explains Campfield of why so many new boron products are coming to market.

TIGER Magnesium 15% is also new for this season. “TIGER Magnesium contains a finely balanced trio of bentonite clay, sulfur and magnesium in oxide form. This unique blend of sulfur and magnesium uses the acid released from the sulfur oxidation process to convert magnesium to a plant-available form throughout the growing season,” says Campfield. “TIGER Magnesium can also be used safely and effectively in starter fertilizer and on sensitive specialty crops, since it has a low salt index.”

Manganese Making Headway

At Erachem-Comilog, an international manufacturer of manganese fertilizer products with domestic operations based in Baltimore, MD, Tecmangam (manganese sulfate monohydrate) is enjoying its title as the “top manganese fertilizer product” in the market, according to the company’s Crane.

“The product is 100% water soluble (as opposed to oxysulfate formulations), so it’s easily taken up by the plant, it can be foliar-applied or broadcast and it’s great on GMO-soybeans to counter yellow flash,” says Crane. “When you treat glyphosate-tolerant beans they can stress and turn yellow. Following up that glyphosate application with a Tecmangam foliar application will green those beans up real well.”

While it is still up for debate in some circles, Crane says recent Purdue University research indicates up to a 12 bushels per acre yield loss via yellow flash.

“Tecmangam is well-entrenched, so much so that many growers looking for any manganese product will go to their retailer and say ‘I want Tecmangam’, so it’s become a well-known brand name” Crane adds.

Additionally, Erachem-Comilog markets a variety of other manganese products, from manganese oxide and manganese carbonate to manganese nitrate. According to Crane, various Chelate manufacturers purchase raw-form manganese from Erachem to formulate into their own proprietary products, as well.

WinField Solutions, meanwhile, saw soild engagment from retailers and growers of its MAX-IN line of micros, according to Mark Heineman, WinField plant nutrition specialist.

“Our MAX-IN lineup was successful being sprayed on several crops that via NutriSolutions tissue sampling identified a micronutrient application need,” he says. “MAX-IN foliar products have shown great return on investment when the demand is needed, and timing and application rates have remained the same.”

According to Heineman, a new product available for this year is MAX-IN Zinc.

Additionally, WinField continues to tout its NutriSolutions 360 program, which Heineman describes as “a multi-dimensional approach using soil, resin, and tissue sampling to provide critical agronomic insights.”

“In 2013 we focused on potassium since it was the most common limiting nutrient over crops and areas,” says Heineman. “Our data to insights team is currently processing the information from the first year of NutriSolutions 360 and working to provide manageable information for our retailers and growers to implement. NutriVision sampling was also a new component under the NutriSolutions 360 System in 2013.”

At Wolf Trax, 2013 sales figures termed robust, driven by increasing international demand have the Canadian-based plant nutrient manufacturer poised for an eventful 2014 growing season.

“We’ve experienced double digit growth in almost all products in all territories,” says Kerry Green, managing direrctor. “And we continue to see strong demand for Zinc DDP and Boron DDP as corn growers strive for 300 bushel yields.”

Green says the company is readying for a 2014 product launch of Nu-Trax P+, which he describes as “a revolutionary product.”

Designed to address a number of challenges with traditional phosphorus application, Nu-Trax P+ features a more effective nutrient package for early plant growth (P, Zinc and Manganese) compared to traditional granular phosphate fertilizers applied at planting time, according to Green. The product also features Wolf Trax’s EvenCoat Technology.

“Nu-Trax P+ can be applied as a fertilizer coating on dry fertilizer, and can potentially replace or augment the granular phosphate in a fertilizer blend,” Green says. “We think Nu-Trax P+ has the potential to re-shape the phosphorus fertilizer segment.”

In addition, Green says that pre-commercialization work is wrapping up on a new soluble zinc product, which will be the first in a family of patent-pending fully soluble nutrients from Wolf Trax.

“These products are designed to promote better absorption into the leaf and enhance translocation through the plant,” he says. “Tentatively called LeafSorb Technology, this feature will enable growers to reduce the number of sprays they currently need to deliver zinc to new growth.”

Green says the new soluble zinc formulation will be of special interest to the fruit and specialty vegetable markets, as well as nut growers, who he says all know the challenges of delivering zinc in a useable form to the plant.

In addition to Nu-Trax P+ and the soluble zinc product to be launched in 2014, according to Green Wolf Trax anticipates adding to the soluble family of nutrients with highly soluble copper and iron products. These nutrients will also feature patent-pending LeafSorb Technology, and Wolf Trax may look to add to the Nu-Trax family of products and expand our seed-applied nutrient product line as well.

Leave a Reply

One comment on “2014 Micronutrients: Boron, Manganese Make Waves

  1. […] 2014 Micronutrients: Boron, Manganese Make Waves With many industry insiders projecting depressed crop input demand throughout several sectors in 2014, it was somewhat surprising to witness the sheer optimism with which many micronutrient manufacturers are viewing the coming season. “From purely a … Read more on CropLife […]

Micronutrients Stories

Crop InputsWinField: Here’s What We’re Seeing So Far This Season
June 25, 2015
One of the most important things you can do throughout the season to help increase yield potential is to ensure Read More
MicronutrientsVerdesian Life Sciences Invests In People, Agricultural Technology
June 22, 2015
In mid-February, the USDA released its new 10-year agriculture projections. While the numbers are new, the theme was consistent. The Read More
MicronutrientsHelena Launching Two New Products
May 11, 2015
Helena Chemical Co. is helping agricultural producers maximize yields and efficiency by introducing two new products: Receptor and MicroMerge 55441SP, designed Read More
MicronutrientsSouthern States: An Inside Look At Our Tissue Sampling Program
April 15, 2015
Remember learning about the food pyramid in school? The nutritional diagram recommends the proper amount of nutrients you need on Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100Allied Ag Distributors Adds Four New Owners
July 30, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC has announced the addition of four new customer/owners to Franklin Holding Co. LLC. They are: The Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Purchases California-Based Specialty Crops Retailer
July 20, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings has successfully acquired California-based NH3 Service Co.  Operating as part of Pinnacle’s Performance Agriculture brand, the new locations Read More
Asmus Farm Supply liquid fertilizer facility features 20,000 square feet
CropLife 100Slideshow: Asmus Farm Supply Shows Off Its New Liquid Fertilizer Facility
July 15, 2015
Asmus Farm Supply, Rake, IA, recently added a new liquid fertilizer facility to its company operations. The new liquid fertilizer Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Feed Division Facilities Receive Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification
July 13, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co.’s Feed Division, a marketer and distributor of value-added feed ingredients for the aquaculture, livestock and pet food industries Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Expands To Brazil With Acquisition
July 8, 2015
BRANDT has acquired a majority interest in Target Brasil Fertilizantes Ltda. through its Brazilian subsidiary. Target Brasil manufactures, distributes and Read More
Milan Kucerak, president/CEO, West Central
CropLife 100West Central Cooperative And Its New President Are A Match Made In Deviation
June 29, 2015
To appreciate just how unique West Central Cooperative is in the world of ag retail, an observer need only consider Read More
Latest News
CropLife 100Allied Ag Distributors Adds Four New Owners
July 30, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC has announced the addition of four new customer/owners to Franklin Holding Co. LLC. They are: The Read More
FungicidesReport: Sudden Death Syndrome Symptoms Appearing In Soy…
July 30, 2015
Last week, symptoms of sudden death syndrome (SDS) began to appear in April 15-planted soybeans at the University of Illinois’s Read More
Seed/BiotechAdvanta Seeds Adds New Phoenix Corn Hybrids
July 30, 2015
Corn growers in the High Plains and Western states have new options available for the 2016 growing season from Advanta Read More
ManagementTechnology and agriculture: a Futurist’s Perspective
July 30, 2015
Futurist David Zach, speaking at this week’s InfoAg Conference in St. Louis, shared thoughts on the benefits and limitations of Read More
Biofuels Plant in Lousiana
Industry NewsIdle Biofuels Plant In Louisiana To Reopen As Ammonia F…
July 30, 2015
A Lithuania-based company plans to spend $265 million to reopen an idle biofuels refinery in Grant Parish as an ammonia Read More
FFA at Monsanto Booth at the 2015 National Farm Machinery Show
Industry NewsFive Students Receive The 2015 Monty’s Plant Food Compa…
July 29, 2015
This fall, five college-bound students will have financial support through the Monty’s Plant Food Company FFA Scholarship. All five scholarship Read More
GYPSOIL Blendable Pellets
Crop InputsBeneficial Reuse Management Launches Pelletized Gypsum …
July 29, 2015
Beneficial Reuse Management (BRM) announced this week at Ag Media Summit that its GYPSOIL Pelletized Products Division will open a Read More
StewardshipOhio Water Quality Project To Determine How Much Phosph…
July 27, 2015
Researchers with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University are looking for farmers in Read More
FertilizerKoch Agronomic Services Launches N-TEGRATION Technology
July 27, 2015
Koch Agronomic Services, LLC (KAS) has launched  N-TEGRATION Technology, a process technology platform designed to enable production of enhanced efficiency fertilizers at Read More
HerbicidesExpert: IARC Herbicide Classifications Leading To Confu…
July 24, 2015
Few people in the crop protection industry had heard of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) before this Read More
ManagementFCI Trade Summit Update & Precision Tank Turns 50
July 23, 2015
Editors Dave Frabotta and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the upcoming FCI Trade Summit in Las Vegas, NV, and how Precision Tank Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesUSDA Deregulates Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist Cotton Trait
July 23, 2015
The USDA today issued its decision deregulating Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist cotton trait in the U.S. The USDA has now completed its Read More
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Showcases Versatile Product Por…
July 23, 2015
Technology has revolutionized agriculture by bringing farmers, retailers and distributors to the forefront of the digital age. To meet the Read More
FertilizerWSJ: Cf Industries Exploring Merger With Dutch Chemical…
July 23, 2015
U.S. fertilizer maker CF Industries is in advanced merger talks with Amsterdam-listed chemical company OCI NV, the Wall Street Journal Read More
HerbicidesNufarm Releases New Panther SC Herbicide
July 23, 2015
Nufarm has announced the availability of new Panther SC herbicide. Panther SC is the first liquid formulation of flumioxazin available Read More
EquipmentFarmLink Launches Farm Equipment Sharing Program
July 23, 2015
FarmLink has introduced a new online farm equipment sharing community – MachineryLink Sharing – leveraging this new economy business model Read More
HerbicidesCould The South’s Most Troublesome Weed Represent A Thr…
July 22, 2015
Palmer amaranth is undoubtedly the most troublesome weed in the southern United States, taking a devastating toll on both cotton Read More
Industry NewsH.J. Baker Hires New Director Of International Sales
July 22, 2015
Global Agriculture firm H.J. Baker announced today that Steve Langley has joined the company’s Crop Performance Division and Animal Health Read More