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 AgUAVs To Take Flight At 2015 Farm Science Review
August 14, 2015
Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have taken the agriculture industry by storm and will soon be Read More
Crop InputsFSR Agronomy College Aims To Keep Agronomic Professionals Sharp
August 11, 2015
From watching for insects and diseases, to carefully applying chemicals and curtailing runoff, to keeping up with ever advancing technology, Read More
CropLife 100Southern States Coop Hosting Drone Flight This Friday
August 3, 2015
Southern States Cooperative — No. 9 on the CropLife 100 — is hosting an FAA-approved drone demonstration at Grandview Farms 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
Top 100 Articles
Crop InputsLand ‘O Lakes, United Suppliers Finalize Merger
August 24, 2015
According to a press release on August 24, owners of United Suppliers, Inc. and members of Land O’Lakes, Inc. “have Read More
West Central Cooperative, Jefferson, IA
CropLife 100Iowa Cooperatives To Explore Unification
August 19, 2015
The boards of directors at two of Iowa’s leading farmer-owned cooperatives yesterday signed a letter of intent to study the Read More
CropLife 100Southern States Coop Hosting Drone Flight This Friday
August 3, 2015
Southern States Cooperative — No. 9 on the CropLife 100 — is hosting an FAA-approved drone demonstration at Grandview Farms Read More
CropLife 100Aligned Ag Distributors Adds Four New Owners
July 30, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC has announced the addition of four new customer/owners to Franklin Holding Co. LLC. They are: The Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Purchases California-Based Specialty Crops Retailer
July 20, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings has successfully acquired California-based NH3 Service Co.  Operating as part of Pinnacle’s Performance Agriculture brand, the new locations Read More
Asmus Farm Supply liquid fertilizer facility features 20,000 square feet
CropLife 100Slideshow: Asmus Farm Supply Shows Off Its New Liquid Fertilizer Facility
July 15, 2015
Asmus Farm Supply, Rake, IA, recently added a new liquid fertilizer facility to its company operations. The new liquid fertilizer Read More
Latest News
StewardshipBee Buffer Strip Initiative Seeks 100 Ohio Farmers
August 31, 2015
The U.S. Bee Buffer Project, an initiative of the Pollinator Partnership (P2), Burt’s Bees and The Burt’s Bees Greater Good Read More
2015 ShowStopper Award, MAGIE
EquipmentA ShowStopper From Case IH: The Patriot 2250
August 31, 2015
For nine years now, visitors to the yearly Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) show have been tasked with not only Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto, FMC Expand Roundup Ready PLUS Platform
August 31, 2015
FMC Corp. and Monsanto Co. announced today an expanded agreement to continue their participation in the Roundup Ready PLUS Crop Read More
Deere Nutrient Applicator
Eric SfiligojThe Good & Bad News From MAGIE
August 31, 2015
As I write this column, I’ve just returned from the annual Midwest AG Industries (MAGIE) trade show in Bloomington, IL. Read More
CPS Morenci receiving its 4R certification
StewardshipCPS Morenci Becomes First Michigan Facility Certified I…
August 31, 2015
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced that Crop Production Services, Inc.’s facility located in Morenci, MI, has been Read More
EquipmentDeere Announces Soucy Track Distribution Alliance
August 28, 2015
John Deere announces an alliance with Soucy Track to sell and distribute products through the John Deere dealer channel. “This Read More
FertilizerFall-Applied Phosphorus: A Rooted Investment
August 28, 2015
As commodity prices decrease and input prices continue to rise, farmers are seeking more efficient strategies for meeting a high Read More
Monsanto Sign
Crop InputsWhat’s Next For Monsanto, Syngenta?
August 28, 2015
After dropping its $47 billion bid to take over Swiss agribusiness firm Syngenta, Monsanto may be turning its focus to Read More
Golden Harvest Corn stalks
Crop InputsMonsanto: Syngenta Not The Only Horse In Crop Protectio…
August 28, 2015
Monsanto Co, having ditched an audacious $46 billion (£30 billion) offer for Syngenta AG, may downshift to a humbler strategy Read More
ManagementConsolidation hits and a miss; And a look at China’s ch…
August 28, 2015
As Monsanto suspends its pursuit of Syngenta, consolidation news at the retail and distribution level heats up. CropLife magazine’s Executive Read More
Corn Field
MicronutrientsHuma Gro Introduces New Boron Liquid Nutrient Formulati…
August 28, 2015
BORO-MAX, a new boron (B) 10% liquid nutrient formulation, has been added to the Huma Gro product line. This new Read More
Crop InputsNFU: Monsanto Decision To Withdraw Syngenta Bid ‘…
August 26, 2015
National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson said the organization was very pleased by the news that Monsanto has withdrawn Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto Withdraws Bid For Syngenta
August 26, 2015
Monsanto Co. abandoned its latest effort to acquire Syngenta AG, the world’s top maker of pesticides, after a sweetened bid Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsSyngenta Comments On Monsanto Announcement
August 26, 2015
The Board of Syngenta confirms that it received a verbal proposal from Monsanto to acquire the company at a price Read More
Case IH Patriot 2250 Sprayer
EquipmentHigh-powered Case IH Patriot 2250 Sprayer Pushes Throug…
August 26, 2015
Engineered with more muscle, the new 660-gallon-capacity Patriot 2250 sprayer features best-in-class horsepower, along with the fuel efficiency that comes Read More
Crop InputsLand ‘O Lakes, United Suppliers Finalize Merger
August 24, 2015
According to a press release on August 24, owners of United Suppliers, Inc. and members of Land O’Lakes, Inc. “have Read More
TMX-2050 In-Cab Display Launch Run Screen
Eric SfiligojPrecision Ag Could Shine In Increased Spotlight On Agri…
August 24, 2015
By any measure, 2015 is turning into one of the most challenging years agriculture has ever experienced. All throughout good Read More
ManagementCrop Conditions In Minnesota and Traveling Time
August 21, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiilgoj discuss the crop outlook from a field trip to Minnesota and upcoming travel plans. Read More