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

Aspire with Boron
Crop InputsStudy: Aspire with Boron Ups Alfalfa Yields
June 8, 2016
Alfalfa growers are successfully improving yields through the cutting season by applying an important micronutrient. In a recent study, The Read More
MicronutrientsCompass Minerals Expands Trial Work For Wolf Trax Innovative Nutrients
May 12, 2016
Fertilizer manufacturer Compass Minerals continues to expand the evaluation program for its Wolf Trax micronutrient fertilizer products, according to a Read More
MicronutrientsCharah Add Three Warehouses For SUL4R-PLUS Fertilizer
April 28, 2016
Charah, Inc., a total solutions company providing unparalleled service and innovation for the coal-fired power generation industry, announced today that Read More
Sul4R-Plus from Charah
MicronutrientsCharah Adds Two Products To Sul4R-Plus Fertilizer Product Line
March 23, 2016
Charah, Inc., a total solutions company providing agricultural products including SUL4R-PLUS fertilizer, announced the introduction of two new micronutrient products Read More
Trending Articles
The Andersons Waterloo
ManagementFirst Indiana Facility Certified Under 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program
June 27, 2016
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced that The Andersons, Inc.’s Waterloo, IN, facility has been added to its Read More
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To Explore IT Solutions
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Eric SfiligojWhat’s Next For Monsanto?
May 31, 2016
For the folks at Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, MO, it has been an eventful few weeks. Back on May Read More
Soybean Plant closeup
Industry NewsMonsanto Rejects Bayer Bid; Open To More Talks
May 25, 2016
Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, turned down Bayer AG’s $62 billion acquisition bid as “incomplete and financially inadequate” 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
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
Latest News
Heritage Cooperative
CropLife 100Heritage, Agland Co-op Explore Mutual Merger Interest
June 30, 2016
According to a report in The Ohio Country Journal, Heritage Cooperative and Agland Co-op have entered into negotiations to consider Read More
Soybean Plant closeup
Crop InputsDow Launching New Soybean Burndown Herbicide
June 30, 2016
With the 2016 growing season nearing the halfway mark, many growers are scouting soybean fields to find unwelcome marestail plants Read More
ManagementUpdates on Glyphosate Use in the EU and Bayer/Monsanto
June 29, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the latest important developments on these crop protection fronts. Read More
Industry NewsCompass Minerals Names Protassium+ Sales Director
June 28, 2016
Compass Minerals, the producer of Protassium+ sulfate of potash, has named Scott Johnson director of sales for Protassium+ North America. Read More
Eric SfiligojThe British Leave Vote Impact On EU Agriculture
June 27, 2016
Like virtually everyone else in the world this past week, I’ve watched the global reaction to Britain’s vote to exit Read More
Valent David Nothmann
Crop InputsValent Names David Nothmann Vice President Of Marketing
June 27, 2016
Valent U.S.A. Corp. has announced the appointment of David Nothmann as vice president of marketing. Nothmann will be responsible for Read More
The Andersons Waterloo
ManagementFirst Indiana Facility Certified Under 4R Nutrient Stew…
June 27, 2016
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced that The Andersons, Inc.’s Waterloo, IN, facility has been added to its Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Contributes To Mayo Clinic
June 27, 2016
BRANDT, a leading agriculture retailer and manufacturer of specialty agriculture products, has pledged a sizable donation to the Mayo Clinic Read More
ManagementReport: U.S. Farmland Values On Average Continue Gradua…
June 27, 2016
Land price movement has been in the forefront for farmers, landowners, lenders and land brokers for a decade now during Read More
AdjuvantsPrecision Laboratories Introduces Intact Xtra For Use W…
June 27, 2016
Precision Laboratories announces the launch of Intact Xtra, an adjuvant designed for applicators who want to maximize spray applications and Read More
Key Cooperative’s new liquid fertilizer, crop chemical, and seed facility in Grinnell, IA stores 1.5 million gallons of liquid fertilizer and 120,000 gallons of crop chemicals.
Retail FacilitiesKey Cooperative Facility Features The Latest In Murray …
June 27, 2016
When Key Cooperative wanted to improve the overall efficiency at its new state-of-the-art facility in Grinnell, IA, it turned to Read More
Allen Summers Asmark Institute PSM Training
EmployeesAsmark Institute Sponsors 25 ResponsibleAg Auditor Trai…
June 21, 2016
The Asmark Institute has announced plans to provide 25 scholarships through their affiliated State fertilizer and agrichemical associations to help encourage Read More
Kennebec Elevator
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Celebrates Kennebec Elevator Grand Openin…
June 21, 2016
Over 250 patrons and guests were on hand to celebrate Wheat Growers’ Kennebec Elevator grand opening. South Dakota Secretary of Read More
Land O Lakes
Industry NewsLand O’Lakes To Acquire Ceres
June 20, 2016
Land O’ Lakes, Inc. and Ceres, Inc. have announced that they have signed a definitive merger agreement under which Land O’Lakes Read More
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To …
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries Read More
LegislationVilsack Christens WinField Crop Adventure, Talks Monsan…
June 17, 2016
The WinField Crop Adventure grand opening ceremonies at Fair Oaks Farms (near Winemac, IN) welcomed USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Read More
Crop InputsFields of the Future: WinField Doubles Down with Agri-E…
June 16, 2016
Land O’Lakes, Inc., joined by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, today will host Fields of the Future, a live broadcast about Read More