Micros Make Move

Whither crop — especially corn — prices go, so go micronutrient sales. Given current high corn prices, it’s not surprising that the 2007 growing season will go in the books as very successful for most micronutrient manufacturers.

“Overall, it was a great year, one of the best we’ve had,” says Paul McCoy, Jr., president of Dunedin, FL-based NutriChem, an American Minerals supply partner and maker of Granusol products.

And as long as corn prices stay high, micronutrient sales will increase, says Jerry Stoller, president and CEO of StollerUSA. The Houston, TX-based company, which offers micronutrients and its Crop Health Products line, has tracked micronutrient sales performance since 1972 and is seeing micronutrient sales increase worldwide. “Micronutrient sales will continue to grow if the price of commodities stays high. It is about that simple,” Stoller says.

“For the benefits, micronutrients are a good buy,” says Todd Wilson, Southeast sales representative for Atmore, AL-based Tiger-Sul Products, LLC. Tiger-Sul’s newest sulfur-based product, Tiger Corn Mix, includes zinc and other micronutrients in a low analysis formulation designed to greatly improve site distribution of micronutrients. “We had limited production for 2007 and have several research plots throughout the U.S. corn growing regions.” he adds.

Good/Bad Zinc News

Zinc is one of the key micronutrients for corn. And zinc deficiency can cause yields to drop 30% to 40%, according to Dr. Dan Froehlich, U.S. agronomy manager for The Mosaic Co. When corn prices are higher, growers typically are willing to put the money down for such a critical element.

That was certainly the experience of Wolf Trax, Inc., headquartered in Winnipeg, MB, Canada. “The increased corn acres resulted in increased demand for our zinc,” says Kerry Green, marketing director. “More importantly, increased commodity prices had many producers looking beyond NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash) and focusing on maximizing returns rather than cutting costs. As a result, we had strong sales not only on zinc but on our other products as well.”

However, some manufacturers were unable to move a lot of zinc this season. A dramatic increase in prices of materials such as zinc and magnesium put a kink in their profits pipeline.

“The cost was through the roof,” says McCoy. “It was over $1,000 per ton for 36% zinc.” The increases are caused by raw materials shortages, increased demand, and freight costs.

Southeastern growers who increased their acres, especially corn acres, had to spread their money a little thinner. “In my area, the Southeast, they cut the micronutrients,” says Alan Robinett, Southern region sales manager for TETRA Micronutrients, Houston, TX.

“I also saw pushback in volume because the dealers and growers were convinced that zinc would come down from the record highs,” adds Robinett, who works out of Ozark, AL. “It never happened and the grower either didn’t use zinc or he sprayed a ‘little dab’ on if he got enough of a stand to consider it.”

Several companies, including NutriChem and Wolf Trax, studied the market and purchased product at an opportune price so they could pass along the increase to customers gradually.

For all the talk about corn, Stoller points out that manganese sales in soybeans is also an especially bright spot this season. “This was due to an issue created by research at Purdue University that shows glyphosate resistant soybeans are more subject to a manganese deficiency,” he says, adding that “during the summer, there were a number of comments that glyphosate-resistant corn was having more problems with zinc deficiency.”

2008 And Beyond

How will micronutrients — zinc in particular — fare next season?

“Bumper yields will remove more micronutrients and corn in particular will remove significant levels of zinc,” says Robinett. “Keep in mind that zinc has doubled in price in two years and shows no signs of coming down. Energy costs always affect micronutrient production and transport. I have a gut feeling the prices will stabilize for the next year.”

McCoy also feels retailers may catch a break soon, noting the price increase rate appears to be leveling off.

“It is anticipated that the elimination of the Chinese VAT (Value Added Tax) reimbursement program will have an additional impact on rising costs of micronutrients imported from China during 2008,” says Don Gordon, president of QC Corp., Cape Girardeau, MO. “We anticipate that with our new Granular Micronutrient products, in addition to our Granular Ferrous (Iron) Sulfate Monohydrate, our micronutrient sales will be increasing during 2008 due to the superior agronomic advantages these new products offer to our customers.”

“I think micronutrient use will continue to increase,” says Wilson. “Will 2008 be positive? Absolutely.”

Leave a Reply

Micronutrients Stories

MicronutrientsMicronutrients Going Macro
September 9, 2014
Between 2014’s fantastic growing conditions and a heightened awareness on plant nutrition, the major players in micronutrients are gearing up for another big year. Read More
MicronutrientsReport: Demand For Zinc As Micronutrient In Agriculture Grows
May 12, 2014
Zinc is becoming more important to increasing crop yields as global population and food consumption continue to rise. Read More
Sulfur Deficiency In Corn
Micronutrients3 Key Questions For Sulfur Application
February 3, 2014
Match sulfur supply to corn crop’s needs to maximize yields and fertilizer dollars. Read More
Micronutrients11 Tips For Effective Fall Application Of Gypsum
September 26, 2013
Spreading gypsum – which often occurs in late fall, after harvest – is simple if you follow these basic steps from GYPSOIL. 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

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
Seed/BiotechBayer CropScience’s ILeVO Approved By EPA
December 11, 2014
EPA has approved ILeVO, the only seed treatment that protects the root system against infections caused by the Sudden Death Syndrome fungus and has activity against dangerous nematodes. Read More
Biologicals in Emerging Markets Map.
Crop InputsBiocontrols Could Quadruple By 2025; Will Regulators Pl…
December 11, 2014
The European experience with GMOs offers caution — and a promise — for biologicals. Read More
Crop InputsBASF Donates $75,000 To Feeding America
December 10, 2014
The donation will support Feeding America’s National Produce Program, an initiative that helps with planning, transportation and logistics to ensure fresh produce deliveries to the 200 member food banks around the country. Read More