Soils Hungry For Micros

Tiger Micronutrients

Experts say three good yield years – with vigorous plants tapping soils – mean it’s definitely time to apply micronutrients in 2010. But how do prices and supplies look?

Raw material prices are variable and may rise with an improving economy, in part because micro firms are competing with food and pharmaceutical industries for ingredients, says Rod Riech, product manager, Brandt Consolidated. One bright spot is that metal prices – with the exception of copper and zinc – seem fairly steady. But beyond cost, supplies of raw materials were still good at presstime.

One problem that may arise involves product transport during heavy spring applications. “We are concerned with transportation issues as demand increases and large volumes are needed to fill the pipeline,” says Jeff Ivan, manager of marketing and business development at Tiger-Sul Products. In conditions like this, Kerry Green, managing director at Wolf Trax, Inc. feels his company has an advantage: “Our high analysis powders, packaged in 20-pound boxes significantly reduce the amount of transportation and handling required.”

And David Benefield, senior vice president at Frit Inc., says most companies have gone through the high-priced inventories they had last spring. Indeed, adds Green, “Field inventories are low and a big rush on spring purchases could significantly lessen supply.”

Micronutrient makers, however, feel ready and are ramping up production to meet the rush. For example, “with three North American production facilities as well as a licensed facility in South Africa we are in excellent position to supply products when demand increases,” says Ivan. Frit has also increased production of its low analysis, high soluble zinc products to meet the rush.

Though suppliers are optimistic, they realize customers are more cautious than ever these days. “Despite the fact that our prices have remained stable over the past year, the volatility of the macronutrient and commodity-based product market has had a significant impact on our customers’ buying patterns,” says Green.

Application Advice

Manufacturers are convinced that the need for micronutrient application is particularly pressing this year. “Because of higher prices many growers reduced or left out the micronutrients in their fertilizer program. This has certainly caused a reduction in the soil level, and farmers will need to add those nutrients to the mix to prevent deficiencies,” says Benefield. Companies offered some tips as spring application approaches:

Time applications carefully. Differ­ent micronutrients play specific roles throughout different growth stages, says Riech. Applying the right micronutrient at the right time is key. He adds that “in today’s high-yielding environments, applying micronutrients is more than just correcting deficiencies – it’s increasing the health of the plant and helping it reach its genetic potential” at harvest.

Watch the weather. The biggest problem Jerry Stoller, president of Stoller USA, foresees in the 2010 growing season would be a lack of moisture and hotter temperatures. “This will put much more stress on the crop during the growing season and pollination season,” he says. Moisture and temperature have a much greater effect than lack of nutrients when producing maximum yields, he adds. This season Stoller anticipates higher demand for the company’s Bio-Forge, which lowers stress ethylene.

Don’t forget sulfur. In a surprising environmental development, researchers have found that North American soils are short on sulfur due in part to the reduction of acid rain. “As we clean up our atmosphere many regions that had been getting adequate sulfur from the atmosphere are now seeing sulfur deficiency,” explains Ivan. In fact, Ti­ger-Sul Products has seen increased shipments of Tiger 90CR Sulphur to these areas, where dealers are adding the product to their NPK blends either alone or with ammonium sulfate for improved sulfur availability. “Our research in Illinois has shown that without sulphur, yields are dramatically lower and nitrogen utilization can be down as much as 30%,” says Ivan.

Know how herbicides and micronutrients interact. Companies are addressing the antagonism that can occur between micronutrients and herbicides that can reduce performance. Riech points out Brandt Smart System products were specifically designed to eliminate this problem. “Glyphosate-resistant weeds are becoming a bigger issue every year and more complex tank mixes of more than one herbicide are the result,” he says. “This puts a heavier load on the plant and our products help eliminate some of the stresses caused by these applications.”

Trust your experience. Recommend or practice production practices that have been successful for you in the past, says Green. “For example, if you have used zinc as part of your fertility package then continue to do so. Remember that no one knows their land or business better than you.”

Dealers can help their customers decide what type of product works best for their crops – liquid, granular, or powder.

Dirk Lohry, president of Nulex Inc. explains that Nulex Liquid Zinc is a clear liquid product designed to blend directly into liquid fertilizers and suspensions without agitation or premixing. It’s most effective when added to a liquid starter banded next to the seed at planting time — or it can be applied broadcast, he says.

The Mosaic Company‘s MicroEssen­tials SZ (containing nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, and zinc) is a granule is placed near developing roots. It contains sulfonated zinc, a water-soluble nutrient source that allows for good zinc uptake, says Dan Froehlich, Mosaic’s U.S. agronomy manager. “MicroEssentials is safer for emerging plants than other fertilizer options when placed with the seed,” he adds.

Green says his retailer customers have especially liked the ease of handling, and performance of Wolf Trax DDP Micronutrients. The innovative formulation adheres to fertilizer, resulting in more consistent blends. Six different micronutrients can be applied at different rates, increasing the grower’s flexibility.

Suppliers continue to develop nutrient choices for stronger plants. Stoller is testing a new experimental product in conjunction with Texas A&M University that set a record soybean yield — 166.8 bushels per acre — last year.

Leave a Reply

Micronutrients Stories

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

Trending Articles

Green Valley Ag facility
Retail FacilitiesGreen Valley Ag Adopts A.J. Sackett’s Precision Fertilizer Blending® Technology At New Facility
July 8, 2014
Sackett's Precision Fertilizer Blending® Technology is making huge strides around the world. Green Valley Ag adopts the technology at its new facility to support its advancing agronomic needs. Read More
Retail FacilitiesWaconia Manufacturing Builds Facility Designed For Speed, Efficiency
July 7, 2014
To make its new hub facility more efficient, Cooperative Elevator enlisted the aid of Waconia Manufacturing. Read More
EquipmentSummer Show Preview 2014: Superior Sprayers Take The Field
July 3, 2014
In this final installment of our coverage of the major categories of Big IRON that retailers can expect to test-drive at this summer’s events, here is a look at 19 sprayers. Read More
Scouting a soybean patch at Green Valley Ag.
EmployeesCropLife Compensation Survey: Battling Talent Drain
July 2, 2014
Retailers too often lose employees to companies outside of agriculture, while recruiting efforts are most often limited to competitors and other ag-focused organizations. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Introduces SureStart II Herbicide
June 16, 2014
The enhanced formulation has improved viscosity and increased stability under heat and controls more than 60 high-anxiety grasses and broadleaf weeds found in corn fields. Read More
HerbicidesBASF Investing $270 Million To Expand U.S. Herbicide Production
June 11, 2014
BASF has invested more than $270 million to expand herbicide production capacities in the U.S., including more than 20 new products to be launched over next two years. Read More

Latest News

StewardshipMonsanto Joins Panel Of Innovators To Advance Research …
July 30, 2014
Monsanto Co. and The Climate Corp., its division, recently joined a roundtable of experts at the White House to share ideas and research approaches to help the world’s farmers manage and adapt to the impact of climate change on the global food supply. Read More
Crop InputsSoybean Checkoff Produces Big ROI
July 30, 2014
Under the soy checkoff program, all U.S. soybean farmers contribute a small percentage of their gross soybean sales for research and marketing projects that maximize their profit potential. Read More
CropLife 100Learfield Sports, CHS Agree To Football-Centric, Colleg…
July 30, 2014
CHS Inc. will embark on a highly integrated collegiate sports sponsorship platform with 24 Division I universities in 19 states designed to reach the farmer-owned cooperative's rural owners and customers. Read More
LegislationUSDA Implements Key Farm Bill Crop Insurance Provision
July 30, 2014
The new Supplemental Coverage Option, available through the federal crop insurance program and set to begin with the 2015 crop year, is designed to help protect producers from yield and market volatility. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Forms New Organizational Structure For Its…
July 30, 2014
The new structure will provide more responsive internal support and will allow regional vice presidents and area managers to spend more time with customers, on talent development and on operational excellence across branches. Read More
Palmer pigweed in cotton
HerbicidesNew Training Modules On Herbicide Resistance Now Availa…
July 30, 2014
The Weed Science Society of America has announced the availability of three new education modules on herbicide resistance in weeds. Read More
HerbicidesWillowood To Market Glufosinate
July 28, 2014
Willowood USA recently announced that Federal EPA has approved its technical registration for glufosinate. Read More
InsecticidesHow To Scout For Corn Earworms In Corn
July 28, 2014
In her weekly report, University of Missouri Agronomy Specialist Jill Scheidt discusses what to look for when scouting for corn earworm. Read More
Crop InputsDuPont Pioneer, Weyerhaeuser Enter Technology License A…
July 28, 2014
The agreement brings together agricultural and forestry know-how to sustainably improve crop productivity for corn growers around the world. Read More
EquipmentAGCO Launches Global iPad App
July 28, 2014
The free AGCO Global iPad App can be downloaded from the Apple iTunes Store and features the full family of RoGator self-propelled sprayers and TerraGator high-floatation spreaders. Read More
Eric SfiligojYuma Centennial Ag Supply Earns 2014 National Environme…
July 28, 2014
Colorado-based ag retailer receives top trophy in 24th annual DuPont Crop Protection/CropLife ceremony. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Forms Alliance With Wildlife Managment, Seed O…
July 25, 2014
The strategic alliance will provide Tecomate with key wildlife products, processing facilities, distribution centers and sales through Pinnacle’s ever-growing retail network. Read More
ManagementFranken Presses White House On RFS Support
July 25, 2014
Al Franken and a group of Senate democrats recently met with senior White House official John Podesta to urge the administration to change its position on an EPA proposal. Read More
ManagementASA, FarmLink To Launch ‘Operation Benchmark̵…
July 25, 2014
The American Soybean Association (ASA) and FarmLink are teaming up to help farmers close the $11 billion gap between what they harvested in 2013 and what they could harvest annually. Read More
StewardshipNorthey: Farmers Commit $1.4 Million to Try New Water Q…
July 25, 2014
The practices that are eligible for funding include cover crops, no-till or strip till and using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer. Read More
Precision AgFarmers Learn How Changing World Will Impact Iowa
July 24, 2014
Technology and understanding global consumer demand for Iowa farm products brought hundreds of farmers and agribusiness leaders to Ames recently for the annual Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Economic Summit. Read More
HerbicidesPurdue: Late Season Weeds May Require Manual Removal
July 24, 2014
Hand-rouging and pulling late season weeds by hand may be the best way to remove them, more so than using a herbicide, a Purdue Extension weed scientist says. Read More
Soybean Field
InsecticidesTransform WG, Closer SC Insecticides Receive R&D 10…
July 23, 2014
Dow AgroSciences has received the award from R&D Magazine for Transform WG insecticide and Closer SC insecticide with Isoclast active. Read More