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

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
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
dicamba, Roundup Ready 2 Xtend
Crop InputsASA: No Dicamba On Roundup Ready 2 Xtend In 2016
May 16, 2016
While Roundup Ready 2 Xtend (RR2X) are tolerant to dicamba and glyphosate herbicides, no dicamba herbicides will be approved for Read More
CPP, glyphosate, dicamba, atrazine,
Crop InputsReport: Congress Pressing EPA On Glyphosate Review Hand…
May 16, 2016
Via Reuters.com reporter P.J. Huffstutter: U.S. lawmakers have asked EPA to explain why it published – and then withdrew – 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
ManagementAsmark Institute Tour Observations
May 12, 2016
Special Guest CropLife Field Editor Matthew Grassi discusses his week-long visit with 45 ag retailers as part of the Asmark Read More
MicronutrientsCompass Minerals Expands Trial Work For Wolf Trax Innov…
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
Young Corn Closeup
Industry NewsArysta Adds To Marketing Team
May 12, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the addition of David Davies to its marketing team. As marketing manager, Davies will Read More