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

Young Corn Closeup
MicronutrientsBiostimulants And Micronutrients: The Making Of A Market
September 7, 2016
The market for biostimulants and micronutrients continues to grow faster than many other areas of the crop protection market. While Read More
Aerial Photo of Advanced Micronutrient Products in Reese MI
MicronutrientsAdvanced Micronutrient Products Big On Custom Blends
September 7, 2016
John Bowen, whose father started Cameron Chemicals in 1986, has his own unique approach to today’s market. The company evolved Read More
corn
MicronutrientsMicronutrients 2016: Market Updates From Key Suppliers
September 7, 2016
This is the year that people should be going back to using micronutrients. After all, to open the door, you Read More
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
Trending Articles
Corn Field
Eric SfiligojFacing Ag Industry Challenges
September 26, 2016
At the 2016 annual Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) meeting in September, a pair of crop protection company representatives discussed Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Crop InputsBayer-Monsanto Mega-Merger: 6 Things You Need To Know
September 14, 2016
Mega mergers have become almost routine in the agricultural industry. Right on the heels of Monday’s news that fertilizer giants Potash Read More
Potash Corp Agrium
Crop InputsAgrium, Potash Corp To Merge To Create $36 Billion Company
September 12, 2016
Canada’s Agrium Inc. and Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc. have agreed to combine in a deal that would create a Read More
Osage Co-op Elevator Osage, IA Finished Building
OpinionAre We Crazy?
September 8, 2016
At some point in the first few months of my employment here at CropLife® magazine, I started getting curious about Read More
ManagementMAGIE 2016 Highlights and Deere Anti-Trust
September 1, 2016
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj discusses the recent Midwest AG Industries Exposition and the Department of Justice’s objection to John Deere Read More
ASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour - CPS
CropLife 100CPS Acquires Texas Retail Operation
August 23, 2016
Crop Production Services (CPS) has acquired the assets of Larry’s Chemical and Spray, Inc., for an undisclosed amount in an Read More
Latest News
Corn Field
Industry NewsMarrone Bio Innovations’ SVP And Chief Sustainability O…
September 29, 2016
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc., a leading provider of effective and environmentally responsible pest management and plant health products, announced today Read More
Young Corn Field
StewardshipStudy: Ohio Farmers Doing ‘A Good Job Of Managing…
September 27, 2016
Leaders from Ohio’s largest grain farming organizations announced today that Ohio farmers are doing their part in effectively managing phosphorus Read More
Growmark FS Outlet
Industry NewsGROWMARK To Purchase Suncor’s Share Of UPI
September 26, 2016
GROWMARK and Suncor have reached an agreement in which GROWMARK will purchase Suncor’s 50% interest in UPI, Inc. in Ontario, Read More
Corn Field
Eric SfiligojFacing Ag Industry Challenges
September 26, 2016
At the 2016 annual Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) meeting in September, a pair of crop protection company representatives discussed Read More
Syngenta Seedcare Institute
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Opens New North America Seedcare Institute In …
September 23, 2016
Syngenta unveiled its new Seedcare Institute in Stanton, MN, during a recent grand opening celebration. More than 150 industry leaders, Read More
StewardshipMonsanto Invests $1.6 Million In System To Quantify Gre…
September 23, 2016
The USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) recently awarded the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and its Soil Health Read More
Pipe rack
LegislationCourt Sides With Ag Retailers On PSM
September 23, 2016
The D.C. Court of Appeals has ruled the Occupational Safety and Health Administration violated the Occupational Safety and Health Act when Read More
ManagementPacific Coast Fertilizer Announces Interest In Longview…
September 22, 2016
Pacific Coast Fertilizer LP (PCF) announced at the Cowlitz Economic Development Council board of directors meeting its interest in developing Read More
Young corn plants in soil
UncategorizedCool Planet Raises Additional $9 Million To Commerciali…
September 22, 2016
Cool Planet has announced the first close of a new financing round to commercialize the company’s Cool Terra Engineered Biocarbon Read More
Crop InputsJim Loar Promoted To President And CEO Of Cool Planet
September 22, 2016
In a move that reflects and reinforces the company’s commitment to the agricultural market, the Cool Planet board of directors Read More
BlendersNorth Dakota Coop Debuts Dry Fertilizer Plant
September 22, 2016
North Central Grain Cooperative has begun operations at a new dry fertilizer plant at its Rolla, ND, site. It is Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto, Bayer Officials Defend Proposed $66 Billion M…
September 21, 2016
Top officials for Monsanto and Bayer defended their proposed $66 billion merger before skeptical senators on Tuesday, insisting that the Read More
ManagementUpcoming Shows & Recent Events
September 19, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about upcoming trade shows and events and review the Mid America CropLife Association Read More
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Appoints New CEO
September 19, 2016
Verdesian Life Sciences, a plant health and nutrition company, today announced that its board of directors has named Kenneth M. Avery Read More
Corn
Crop InputsEPA Settles With Syngenta For Alleged Multi-Regional Pe…
September 19, 2016
The U.S. EPA has announced a multi-region settlement with Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC (Syngenta) in Greensboro, NC, for alleged violations of Read More
ManagementMerger Mania
September 16, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss this week’s mega-ag mergers of Bayer and Monsanto and Potash and Agrium. Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMonsanto Ends Up Being A Bargain For Bayer
September 16, 2016
History will say Bayer got a bargain in its $66 billion purchase of Monsanto, writes David Nicklaus, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Read More
Greg Musson, Gar Tootelian
CropLife 100California Ag Retailer Steps Up To Feed Families Affect…
September 16, 2016
GAR Tootelian, Inc. (GAR) in Reedley, CA, is challenging the Central Valley to help raise enough money and provide 525,000 meals Read More