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

Precision AgUAS: The S Stands For Smart, Service And Sensors
May 1, 2014
The only thing occuring more rapidly than the technologies’ evolution is the clamoring to implement UAS into agriculture as soon as possible. Read More
Precision AgAg Retail: 3 Tech Trends To Watch In 2014
April 1, 2014
It's been a busy first quarter of technology developments in 2014. Here are some of the highlights, and things to watch in the months ahead. Read More
Valley Variable Rate Irrigation
Precision AgMaximizing Returns From Water Inputs
March 3, 2014
Irrigation manufacturers have developed some vital new technologies to fine-tune irrigation and save growers money, water, energy and labor. Read More
Todd Golly and UAVs
Precision AgReal-World UAV Experience In Agriculture
February 3, 2014
Minnesota grower Todd Golly shares his views on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. 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

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
EquipmentKinze, Raven Team Up On 4900 Planter Monitor
July 23, 2014
Kinze Manufacturing announces a partnership with Raven Industries to develop a standalone monitor solution for the Kinze 4900 series planter. With this new Read More
LegislationNew Farm Bill Continues To Confuse As Growers Await USD…
July 23, 2014
The new five-year Farm Bill eliminates many of the direct payments previously payed to growers and could benefit from USDA clarification, reports a Toledo Blade columnist. Read More
EquipmentPrecisionAg.com Relaunches With Responsive Design For M…
July 22, 2014
PrecisionAg, the worldwide leader in precision agriculture information and analysis, announces the launch of its completely redesigned website, PrecisionAg.com. Read More
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