Being Right And Able To Show It

In July, we held another InfoAg Conference in Springfield, IL — the 10th in the long-standing series which started in 1995. InfoAg is the largest educational meeting organized by the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) in North America. We partner with CropLife Media Group for the conference, who handles the exhibits and sponsor recruitment as well as much of the promotion. Judging from the attendance, which exceeded 700, the over 80 exhibitors and the numerous positive comments about the event from the attendees, it appears to have been a great success.

In case you have never attended an InfoAg Conference, it is basically a conference on precision agriculture designed for those that provide or use precision ag technology or approaches. It covers all aspects of agriculture, a much broader set of topics than plant nutrition (www.infoag.org/program/1/ for program details including most of the presentations). For example, one of the most popular sessions this year was on variable-rate seeding.

Why InfoAg?

So why is a plant nutrition scientific institute funded by the plant nutrition industry serving as the lead organizer of such an event — an event that covers many topics beyond plant nutrition? Most would agree that it is a great event, but is InfoAg RIGHT for IPNI? We find the answer to this question in our 4R Nutrient Stewardship framework. Applying at the right source, rate, time and place form the center interlocking core of the framework diagram.

However, between these 4Rs and myriad performance indicators of interest to stakeholders, is the “cropping system.” The need for and “performance” of nutrient sources is greatly influenced by the quality of management of the cropping system in which they are used. For example, having a sufficient number of plants present in productive areas of the field, while not having too many in less productive areas, may well have as much to do with efficient and effective nutrient use as does what we do in nutrient application. InfoAg offers an opportunity to present 4R Nutrient Stewardship within the appropriate context of right-managed systems employing the best technology and practices our current industry and its supporting science can provide.

The Future Of Fertilizer

Realizing the impact of all cultural practices on the efficiency and effectiveness of applied nutrients is becoming more critical to the future of the fertilizer industry. Traditionally, nutrient management has largely been assessed by inventorying the practices being employed. If nutrient best management practices (BMPs) are in place, we generally feel we are doing our job and all is well. However, EPA and others today are more likely to look at existing water or air quality and their trends and back up into farms using instruments like “numeric nutrient criteria” or total maximum daily loads (TMDLs). When water quality trends are not positive, the mantra heard is “voluntary adoption is not working” and the push for regulation intensifies. All this makes measurement of nutrient performance critically important to help avoid excessive future regulation and that performance is influenced by how we practice both nutrient management and general crop production. Forgetting fear of regulation, such measurements are useful in guiding the continuous improvement of our management over time.

Some performance measures are in the realm of researchers because they require replicated experiments, the determination of the nutrient content of crops grown, or actual measure of nutrients lost from the field. However, others are easily calculated for fields or areas within fields using commonly available records. These include the bushels of crop grown per pounds of nutrient applied or estimates of nutrient balance where the nutrients applied as fertilizer or manure are compared to the nutrients removed in crop harvest. Monitoring such indicators, both spatially and over time, can provide valuable insights into the direction of nutrient use efficiency and performance. Precision technologies greatly facilitate that process.

So facilitating the application of the right nutrient source at the right rate, time and place in right-managed systems should be a primary goal of the fertilizer industry. But we must also be able to show that the resulting practices were indeed right by measuring their contribution to system performance.

Leave a Reply

Precision Ag Stories

Corn Field
FertilizerBridging Crop Nutrition Science And Technology
September 7, 2016
The future seemed to draw nearer for the 1,600-plus attendees of the co-located InfoAg and International Precision Agriculture conferences in St. Read More
Deere R4023 cab
Precision AgPrecision Ag Aids Fertilizer Programs
September 6, 2016
Whatever the farm economy may look like, retailers need to continue to develop a sound fertility program to reach the Read More
EquipmentCase IH Debuts Nutri-Tiller 955 Strip-Till Applicator
August 24, 2016
With strip-till continuing to expand across new acres, Case IH designed the new Nutri-Tiller 955 strip-till applicator to help producers Read More
EquipmentCase Launches Aim Command FLEX, 25th Anniversary Patriot Sprayer
August 24, 2016
Case IH announces new AIM Command FLEX advanced spray technology for greater application accuracy, as well as special 25th Anniversary 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
ManagementThoughts on CropLife America and the PSM Appeal
September 29, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the recent CropLife America annual meeting and the successful appeal of the Read More
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