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
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
Milan Kucerak, president/CEO, West Central
CropLife 100West Central Cooperative And Its New President Are A Match Made In Deviation
June 29, 2015
To appreciate just how unique West Central Cooperative is in the world of ag retail, an observer need only consider Read More
Winter Wheat
CropLife 100South Dakota Co-op Member Owners Vote No On Unification
June 26, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have announced that member-owners have voted Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Acquires South Dakota Plant Nutrient Manufacturer Kay-Flo
May 20, 2015
The Andersons, Inc., ranked No. 22 on the CropLife 100, has purchased Kay Flo Industries of North Sioux City, SD. “This Read More
CropLife 100AgGateway’s Barcoding Initiative Progressing Nicely
May 8, 2015
According to legend (or Wikipedia), the first step towards modern bar codes came back in 1948, when Bernard Silver, a Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Acquires Minnesota Retailer
April 14, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC, ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100,  has successfully acquired Liebl Ag, LLC in Ada, MN.  Read More
CropLife 100CHS, Aurora Cooperative Complete Fertilizer Storage, Grain Shuttle Loading Facility
April 13, 2015
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading cooperative and ranked No. 5 on the CropLife 100, and Aurora Cooperative (ranked No. 21) Read More
Latest News
Agworld Apple Watch Farm Management
EquipmentAussie Data Management Software Company Making Its Mark…
July 4, 2015
Zach Sheely, vice president of sales and operations, says that several large, well-known U.S. cooperatives (Stanislaus Farm Supply, Wilco-Winfield and Read More
Topcon AGI-4 on MF Planter
EquipmentAutosteer: Compatibility, Accuracy Remain Top Of Mind
July 3, 2015
The world of automatic steering solutions in agriculture has evolved rapidly in the last few years. From after-market add-ons that Read More
ManagementUnited Suppliers/Land ‘O Lakes Merger & Crop Update
July 2, 2015
CropLife’s Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the reasons behind the United Suppliers/Land ‘O Lakes merger and USDA’s recent Read More
Industry NewsBioSafe Adds To Sales Force
July 2, 2015
BioSafe Systems has announced the hire of two new members for its service team. David Britt recently joined the team Read More
Chesapeake Bay
ManagementChesapeake Bay Clean-Up Gets Renewed Attention
July 2, 2015
The Chesapeake Bay has been called one of the most biologically productive ecosystems in the world. It’s also one of Read More
Measuring Bulk Tanks
ManagementBulk Pesticide Compliance: Top 10 Areas Of Improvement …
July 1, 2015
  In honor of the 33-year run of David Letterman’s Late Show, the American Agronomic Stewardship Alliance (AASA) is happy Read More
Industry NewsArysta North America Hires Midwest Sales Manager
July 1, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the hiring of Brian Battles as the Senior Technical Sales Manager for the Midwest Read More
Farmer on tablet
Eric SfiligojThe Never-Ending Battle Against Modern Agriculture
July 1, 2015
In the world of comic books, the character of Superman often refers to the fight to save the world as Read More
Retail FacilitiesBuilding Up Ag Retail
July 1, 2015
In the oftentimes unpredictable world we live in, it’s nice to know some things can be reliably countered on to Read More
Retail FacilitiesMaple River Grain And Agronomy Phases In Site Developme…
July 1, 2015
Marcus Construction helped Maple River Grain and Agronomy in Casselton, ND, with the design-build of its dry fertilizer, liquid chemical/seed Read More
Retail FacilitiesA&B Welding Builds A New Liquid Terminal Hub For Br…
July 1, 2015
To build its new hub facility, Briggs Crop Nutrients enlisted the help of A&B Welding. The result, an efficient facility Read More
Edon Farmers Co-op
Retail FacilitiesNew Marcus Facility At Edon Farmers Co-op Provides More…
July 1, 2015
Edon Farmers Co-Op in Edon, OH, needed a new facility to consolidate outdated locations. Marcus Construction was able to design Read More
Retail FacilitiesKinder Morgan Expands Its Storage With A New Dome Barre…
July 1, 2015
Kinder Morgan wanted additional covered storage at its Dakota Bulk Terminal on the Mississippi River in St. Paul, MN. With Read More
Retail FacilitiesHeartland Tank Protects Fertilizer From Extreme Cold At…
July 1, 2015
The Arthur Companies in Harvey, ND, enlisted the help of Heartland Tank Companies to develop a new liquid fertilizer facility Read More
The McGregor Co. fertilizer loadout
Retail FacilitiesThe McGregor Co. Partners With Kahler Automation To Cre…
June 30, 2015
Kahler Automation helped The McGregor Co. expand its Clarkston, WA, operation with unstaffed loadout technology that enables customers to pick Read More
Dry and Liquid Plant
Retail FacilitiesKahler Automation Helps CHS Dakota Ag Cooperative Build…
June 30, 2015
CHS Dakota Ag Cooperative in Mooreton, ND, wanted a liquid/dry blender system that could meet the needs of its customers Read More
Crop InputsLand O’Lakes, United Suppliers To Merge Crop Inpu…
June 29, 2015
Land O’Lakes, Inc. and United Suppliers, Inc. of Ames, IA, today announced their intent to merge their crop inputs businesses. Read More
FungicidesHelena To Distribute Unique Summit Agro Fungicide
June 29, 2015
RANMAN 400 SC fungicide, the only fungicide with a FRAC group 21 designation, is now part of the innovative Summit Read More