Micros Ease Crop Stress

Zinc deficiency in corn

Early in the season, CropLife® reported high demand and tight supplies for micronutrients. “The good news is there’s been enough product to go around, thanks in part to wet weather that delayed planting and allowed us to manufacture and get micros in place when needed,” says Mike Powell, brand manager/nutritionals and bioscience products, Helena Chemical Co.

Brandt Consolidated actually fared better than in the past few years, says Rod Riech, sales and marketing coordinator. “We didn’t experience some of the shortages. It all comes down to communication with our customers and sharing information so we can better serve them. With clear communication channels, we can better project our usage throughout the year,” says Riech.

Dan Froehlich, manager of new product development with The Mosaic Co., was surprised and pleased that growers did not pull back on fertilizer application, even as the season started later. “Farmers continued with the P (phosphorus) and K (potassium) needed and realized that if they were going to pull the very high yields they want, they had to apply nutrients to depleted soils,” says Froehlich.

Stoller USA reports sales were a “tremendous success,” significantly better than what the company anticipated, says Jerry Stoller, CEO and founder. “During the last 50 years of being in business, I’ve never seen farmers so anxious to buy products. Normally they are very conservative when it comes to purchasing. This year they threw conservatism out the window,” says Stoller. “They are going for maximum dollars and maximum profits.”

Derek Kuffert, product manager with Tiger-Sul, says demand for the company’s products was up, with ammonium sulfate supplies tight. Fortunately, customers only had to wait a day or two for delivery in some locations.

Many suppliers’ comments echoed those of Kerry Green, managing director, Wolf Trax, Inc.: “Strong commodity prices bolstered the use of micronutrients this season.” Plus, the large benefits that micronutrients provide have a positive return on investment and can help soften the impact of some of the input costs, says Brandt’s Riech.

Standouts Lend A Hand

While late, wet plantings helped nutrient supplies, they also stressed crops. Soils were not warming and experts tracked a high frequency of sulfur and zinc deficiencies as well as less than ideal nitrogen and phosphorus uptake. “It was a tough start,” emphasizes Mosaic’s Froehlich.

Micronutrients are designed to shine in just these conditions.

Helena’s Powell says the company’s best performers this season were ones that directly impact plant health, such as Ele-Max ENC, Megafol and a new product called Utilize. Utilize helps plants recover from stress, both environmental and non-environmental, he explains.

“We certainly saw the benefit of PROTINUS on wetter, colder soils this past spring in a variety of crops,” reports Wolf Trax’s Green. This seed-applied fertilizer is a great solution to deliver early-season zinc and manganese, he says. It offers early micronutrient access for the young plants, giving them faster and more even emergence, longer and more developed root systems — and creating a more competitive, larger seedling with the ability to handle stress. Zinc DDP as a fertilizer coating is then a good follow up to PROTINUS in zinc-deficient areas.

Tiger-Sul’s Kuffert saw growth in use of Tiger Zn 18% and low analysis Tiger Zn 4% in the zinc-challenged Corn Belt this year.

MicroEssentials SZ (12-40-0-10S-­1Zn) from Mosaic was also a popular item. Froehlich notes that granules contain four nutrients — nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur and zinc — that work together to increase phosphorus uptake by up to 30%. In some areas, growers prefer MicroEssentials S-10 (12-40-0-10S) where they supply zinc in another form.

Nulex’s RGS (Root Growth Stimula­tor) was ideal for this season’s conditions. The product is a formulation of zinc and ammonium acetate that stimulates the plant to generate a greater volume of healthier roots, imparting it with more vigor and greater stress tolerance — as well as promise of higher yields.

Riech says Brandt’s Manni-Plex and Brandt Smart System foliar micronutrients are designed to alleviate stresses often associated with wet fields, late planting, or other external stresses — as well as assist the plant in carrying out physiological functions to enhance yield potential. “Foliar micronutrient formulations can also help mitigate transient field deficiencies due to waterlogging and help ‘push’ a late-planted crop,” he explains. Later season Manni-Plex products containing boron continue to enjoy sound agronomic performance and market growth, he says.

Green says Wolf Trax has also seen increased demand for boron. With higher than average rainfall, many customers chose Boron DDP, due to its flexibility, as a foliar application or in liquid fertilizer applications.

Stoller points out that his company primarily works on strategies to apply nutrients and/or plant growth regulators in order to protect crops against climatic stress, like that felt this season (see sidebar). Hormone balance in a plant during all stages of growth is changed by hot or cold temperatures, by wet soil, by drought-heated soil, and by cloudy weather, he explains. “These dramatic changes, particularly during the reproductive stage of growth, are the real key to dramatically increasing yields.”

Extreme high heat is detrimental to pollination, says Mosaic’s Froehlich, and yield reduction may be a real problem this year because of high temperatures felt in states such as Iowa and Nebraska, in regions extending from Route 80 and south. Here warm night temperatures over 70 degrees may have had a devastating effect on yields.

Tiger-Sul’s Tiger 90CR continues to play a key role in the Pacific Northwest and other western states to amend soil pH, bringing them down to healthy levels for plant growth.

Fall And Beyond

Froehlich sees grower demand for micronutrients increasing even more, especially as growers strive to pull record yields. “And the aggressive, progressive producer will do in-season tissue testing. He’ll also do soil testing every two years — when it used to be every four. These hybrids are removing so much … there are sulfur and zinc deficiencies throughout the Midwest.”

Tiger-Sul’s Kuffert says states such as Ohio and Indiana are especially feeling the pinch, with measures in place to decrease environmental impact of manufacturing processes. “Sulfur is no longer available free from steel mills in acid rain,” he explains.

Helena’s Powell is working closely with suppliers to ensure product availability — and quality. “In addition to availability, we always double up on quality,” he says. “Our focus does not veer from bringing high quality products — and results — to our customers. We want our products to perform at the highest level. At Helena, that is always at the top of our agenda.”

Mosaic’s Froehlich believes dealers are pretty well set for fall applications, with 70% to 75% of product they need in place. “For spring, it all depends on how many corn acres are planted,” he says. The situation could be challenging if some 93 million corn acres are projected again.

He sees dealers playing a larger part in boosting micronutrient awareness and use. More retailers are offering information about micronutrients at their field days, for instance, and doing preventative applications of the nutrients. More companies and universities offer websites with valuable data on deficiencies and treatment approaches.

Brandt’s Riech describes the complexity of the landscape in which dealers can lend micronutrient expertise: Growers must deal with higher planting populations, more complicated tank mixes, higher disease and insect pressure, and better nutrient management for increased yield.

They’re pursuing every nutrient, every available avenue to boost yield, says Tiger-Sul’s Kuffert. They’ve seen increased genetics and intense agronomics at work, now “what will drive yields to the next level?”

Wolf Trax’s Green says despite strong commodity prices, retailers and growers are still looking for the most efficient fertilizer application available. Getting the right product applied at the right rate and right time is tricky with micronutrients. He says Wolf Trax products are particularly well-suited for this strategy, starting with PROTINUS applied directly to the seed, followed by DDP Micronutrients, which can be used in a liquid starter fertilizer, as a dry fertilizer coating, or as an in-crop foliar application. “The flexibility to apply one product in many ways helps the retailer and farmer maximize their options for addressing deficiencies,” he says.

Micronutrient use continues to be an educational process, as growers learn the role of these inputs, says Mosaic’s Froehlich. “In corn, zinc is a primary driver of yield — you have to supply enough somehow. Growers are putting a lot of money into other inputs, they don’t want to be short on micros,” he says. Indeed, he says it’s been proven that the new high performing triple stack hybrids demand at least 10% more micronutrients than their genetic predecessors.

Leave a Reply

Micronutrients Stories

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
Zinc Close-Up
MicronutrientsSpring Applications Of Sulfur And Zinc Provide Maximum Yield Potential
March 4, 2016
Planting is just around the corner, and during tough market conditions, farmers are often tempted to slash input costs rather 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
ManagementWashington Visit and Bayer/Monsanto Deal Update
May 26, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discusses a recent trip to DC and the latest news on the proposed pairing Read More
Fertilizer closeup in hand
Industry NewsVerdesian: Striking A Balance Between Yield & ROI
May 26, 2016
Finely tuned nutrient management plans are helping farmers throughout the U.S. improve nutrient use efficiency, increase return on investment (ROI) Read More
Crop InputsLand O’Lakes Announces Minnesota Water Quality Pa…
May 25, 2016
Governor Mark Dayton and Land O’Lakes, Inc. President and CEO Chris Policinski today announced a new public-private partnership to protect 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
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