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

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
EquipmentGPS: 25 Years And Still Growing
June 2, 2014
The evolution of global positioning systems applications in agriculture remains ongoing as the technology hits a notable milestone. Read More
CropLife 10013 Key Acquisitions Pinnacle Has Made In The First Half Of 2014
May 29, 2014
The only thing that has reached a more frenzied pace than #plant14 might be the multiple acquisitions that Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings has made in the first half of the year. Read More

Latest News

FungicidesEPA OKs Two Willowood Fungicides
July 21, 2014
The EPA has approved Willowood Azoxy 2SC and Willowood AzoxyProp Xtra. two widely used broad spectrum, preventative fungicides with systemic and curative properties. Read More
Precision AgFarmers Learning Fast As UAVs Take Off
July 17, 2014
Farmers and others interested in how UAVs can be used in agricultural applications were able to learn more about the technology during the recent Precision Aerial Ag Show. Read More
CropLife 100Bobby Knight, Richard Petty To Highlight Ag PhD Field D…
July 17, 2014
Attendees at the July 24 Ag PhD Field Day at Hefty Farms will learn about the latest agricultural technologies, and get a chance to meet legendary sports figures Bobby Knight and Richard Petty. Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
July 17, 2014
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
A finished Willmar 16-ton side-shooting tender.
TendersNew Production Facility Helps Willmar
July 17, 2014
In 1963, a group of businessmen started Willmar. Today, a half-century later, the company is one of the ag industry’s longest-running brands. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Sells Carbon Credits To Chevrolet, Donate…
July 17, 2014
CF Industries has completed the sale of a large block of carbon reduction credits to Chevrolet, and will donate the net proceeds of $600,000 to the National FFA Foundation. Read More
CropLife 100Grainland Cooperative, Minier Cooperative Grain To Merg…
July 17, 2014
The shareholders of Grainland Cooperative and Minier Cooperative Grain Co. approved a merger of company operations effective August 1, 2014. Read More
ManagementStudy: Drought Costing California Billions
July 17, 2014
A new study has found the drought has cost the state $2.2 billion, primarily in lost farm revenue and wages. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Resumes Production At Oklahoma Nitrogen C…
July 17, 2014
The company had shut down production at the Woodward, OK, facility in April to address an issue in one of the site’s boilers. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis To Relocate Agribusiness Division To Denve…
July 16, 2014
The move Eastward will allow Wilbur-Ellis’ Agribusiness Division to be more accessible to relevant geographies and is expected to enhance communication and collaboration among the division’s nearly 3,000 employees. Read More
Soybean field
FungicidesValent Launches New Seed Protection Fungicide For Soybe…
July 16, 2014
The INTEGO SUITE System contains the first new, novel seed protection fungicide chemistry registered in 30 years by the EPA for protection against Pythium and Phytophthora. Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Drive To Thrive 10 Finalists Announced
July 15, 2014
Finalists are chosen based on the quality of their essays and photos depicting what makes them thrive. Read More
FertilizerHow To Minimize Phosphorus Losses In Runoff
July 15, 2014
Phosphorus losses from agricultural fields can be divided into three categories: flash losses of soluble phosphorus, slow leak losses and erosion events. Here's how to minimize losses in each instance. Read More
ManagementCalifornia Drought Threatens To Dry Up Farm Wells
July 15, 2014
Farmers hit hardest by California's drought could begin to see wells run dry next year, according to a new study by The Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California, Davis. Read More
Precision AgPoll: Do you plan to attend this year’s InfoAg Co…
July 14, 2014
This year’s InfoAg Conference is just two weeks away. The premier event in precision agriculture takes place July 29-31 at Read More
LegislationFarm Bill Implementation Continues
July 14, 2014
The bill provides $28 billion over the next five years for conservation on private lands while streamlining several old programs and creating new ones like the Regional Conservation Partnership Program. Read More
MicronutrientsH.J. Baker Continues Expansion Of Atmore Facility
July 14, 2014
The company has improved its molten sulphur unloading system to help meet increased sulphur demand at Tiger-Sul’s Atmore, AL, facility. Read More
Stewardship4R Certification Training Kicks Off As Lake Erie Algae …
July 14, 2014
As scientists prepare for the coming season of potential algae blooms on Lake Erie, nutrient service providers have been signing up for the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification program at a steady pace. Read More