7 Keys To Delivering Effective Fertility Programs: #3 Developing The Prescription

On the surface, developing fertilizer prescriptions appears simple. Scrutinize soil test numbers, churn out recommendations, watch the bushels multiply. In reality, good recommendations — the grower-driven, yield-generating, safe-for-the-environment type — go far beyond the numbers.

Pat Schaddel, division manager for BRANDT, says crop advisers need to have a clear set of goals in mind when making recommendations. “They need to consider the producer’s yield goal, previous crop, removal rates, nitrogen placement and timing, plant population, tillage methods and other constraints.”

“For the process to be effective, a strong grower-dealer relationship must exist, one based on trust and good communication,” says Troy Walker, GIS team leader at Ceres Solutions, LLP. “It begins with a conversation, one that is pngoing, so recommendations always match the growers’ needs. We also want to base our recommendations off of science, research and good information.”

Correct correlation and calibration are an important part of the science that backs up recommendations, according to Dave Mengel, professor of soil fertility and nutrient management at Kansas State University. “The whole objective of the process is to fine tune things and make them more efficient,” says Mengel. “Continuing education for dealers and crop advisers is critical to keep up with what is going on in the research community.”

Walker says one of his biggest obstacles in the recommendation process is getting growers to implement a soil-test program in the first place. Ceres Solutions recommends testing every four years and, if possible, more frequently on sandy soils.

“About 30% of our growers are involved in intensive soil testing,” Walker says. “That is a staggering number, even if you add another 10-15% for those who use other companies. My challenge is to figure out how to reach these growers and help them understand the importance of these tests for developing good recommendations and planning for the future.”

Despite the numerous factors and uncertainties involved with soil recommendations, retailers remain firm in their commitment to develop the fertilizer prescriptions that make the best agronomic sense for the grower.


The Future of Soil Recommendations

Good recommendations are only as strong as the data that backs them up. Collecting information from growers and other sources has been a major hurdle for retailers in the past. Recent and emerging technologies are simplifying this process. As retailers take advantage of better access to accurate information, the soil recommendation process may become smoother in the future.

  • Cloud Technology makes it effortless to upload, store and share data, which improves communication between dealers and growers.
  • GPS Systems map out a field and pinpoint sample locations. Growers and retailers access information from a smartphone or computer.
  • Sensor Technology collects data in real time for analysis later. Its real potential may lie in improved nitrogen management.
  • Reflectance Imagery provides the data to map soil properties in a short amount of time. More research and calibration are needed in this area to realize its full potential.

Sponsored by PotashCorp

About The Series

The fertility program is at the heart of a comprehensive cropping plan, and at the center of influence in the relationship between ag retailers and grower-customers. The CropLife 100 Retailers survey data as compiled in 2012 reported that in aggregate, 55% of crop input and service revenue was generated from the sale of fertilizer.

Not surprisingly, the selling and application of fertilizer attracts the lion’s share of attention from retail management. Effective management of fertilizer on behalf of growers requires a full understanding of field and crop needs, as well as the many factors that drive top-level production. Retailers must also be cognizant of proper stewardship, working to ensure that every pound of nutrient applied is maximized, with as little waste as possible.

To highlight the important aspects of fertilizer management programs, CropLife magazine and sponsor PotashCorp are pleased to present the Seven Keys to Delivering Effective Fertility Programs.

Leave a Reply

7 Keys To Delivering Effective Fertility Programs Stories

7 Keys To Delivering Effective Fertility Programs7 Keys To Delivering Effective Fertility Programs: #7 Scorecarding
November 1, 2013
Scorecarding, in the agricultural sense, is a way to evaluate management practices on your farm. In essence, you examine the Read More
7 Keys To Delivering Effective Fertility Programs7 Keys To Delivering Effective Fertility Programs: #6 Yield Data
October 1, 2013
Using yield/harvest data to determine if a fertility program is successful is a tricky business. Answers aren’t always apparent. A Read More
7 Keys To Delivering Effective Fertility Programs7 Keys To Delivering Effective Fertility Programs: #5 In-Season Scouting
September 1, 2013
A solid integrated pest management (ipm) program wouldn’t be nearly as valuable without a consistent in-season scouting program at its Read More
7 Keys To Delivering Effective Fertility Programs7 Keys To Delivering Effective Fertility Programs: #4 Application and Data Recording
August 1, 2013
One-size-fits-all fertilizer applications are quickly becoming relics of the past as they move over to make way for the site-specific Read More
Trending Articles
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls And Bears Impacting This Year’s Marketplace
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMissouri Governor Meets With Bayer CEO To Discuss Monsanto Merger
November 21, 2016
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Bayer AG global headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, on November 18 to discuss the proposed Bayer-Monsanto Read More
STS16 2017
SprayersHagie Manufacturing Releases 2017 STS16 Sprayer To Market
November 16, 2016
Hagie Manufacturing LLC’s largest full season applicator is now available with enhancements for the 2017 model year. Hagie is officially Read More
Wilco
CropLife 100Valley Agronomics, Wilco-Winfield To Form New Agronomy Joint Venture
November 11, 2016
Valley Agronomics LLC, headquartered in Rupert, ID, is a joint venture between Valley Wide Cooperative and Winfield Solutions, LLC. Wilco-Winfield, Read More
Latest News
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Acquires Michigan Ag Retailer
December 7, 2016
Wilbur-Ellis’ Agribusiness, a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution and marketing of plant protection, seed and nutritional Read More
Fertilizer storage The Andersons
CropLife 1002016 Fertilizer Report: Another Really Rough Year For A…
December 7, 2016
In many ways, the fertilizer category cannot seem to catch a break. During the early part of the 2010s decade, Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Winter wheat
HerbicidesTalinor Herbicide Approved For Wheat And Barley
December 7, 2016
Talinor herbicide from Syngenta has received federal registration from the U.S. EPA, giving wheat and barley growers a new option Read More
Forage Sorghum
UncategorizedMilestone Achievement Continues For Dow AgroSciences, A…
December 7, 2016
New and innovative forage products are on the horizon driven by continued collaboration between Dow AgroSciences, a wholly owned subsidiary Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesNew WSSA Factsheet Explores Weed Seeds And Their Longev…
December 7, 2016
Did you know some weed seeds can lie dormant in the soil for more than a century and then sprout Read More
Crop InputsARA 2016: 5 Developments Worth Monitoring Into 2017
December 6, 2016
You can pretty much set your watch to it (do people even still wear watches? I know I do…but I’m Read More
Tim McCardle, ARA Chairman
CropLife 100BRANDT COO Named ARA Chairman
December 5, 2016
BRANDT EVP and Chief Operating Officer Tim McArdle has been named chairman of the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) during a Read More
Crop InputsWilbur-Ellis Receives ResponsibleAg Certification At Mo…
December 5, 2016
Wilbur-Ellis Co., a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution of crop protection products, announces the ResponsibleAg certification Read More
Young Corn Closeup
Eric SfiligojThe Read On 2017 For Agricultural Fortunes Is Anybody’s…
December 5, 2016
As I (and others) have written in recent months, the nation has just experienced one of the most offbeat election Read More
Acceleron B-300 seed coating
Crop InputsThe BioAg Alliance Launches New Yield-Boosting Microbia…
December 5, 2016
As part of their commitment to develop and commercialize innovative microbial solutions for farmers through The BioAg Alliance, Monsanto Co. Read More
ManagementCorn and soy planting update; Takeaways from Climate Co…
December 2, 2016
AgriBusiness Global Editor Dave Frabotta Joins Paul Schrimpf for a discussion of global corn and soybean planting trends, and a Read More
Radish cover crop taproot
Crop InputsSoil Health Institute, Datu Research Receive Grant To E…
December 1, 2016
The Soil Health Institute (SHI) and Datu Research have announced a $626,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation to quantify the Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
ManagementAg Industry Comes Together To Address Climate Change
December 1, 2016
Addressing climate change — and more specifically, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture — can only be achieved through collective Read More
Young soybean field
HerbicidesLiquid Formulation Valor EZ Herbicide Available For 201…
December 1, 2016
Valent U.S.A. Corp. has released Valor EZ; a liquid formulation of the company’s leading herbicide, Valor. Named Valor EZ Herbicide Read More
Key Cooperative Marcus Construction Steel Building
ManagementThe Value Of Cooperatives In Modern Agriculture
December 1, 2016
Editor’s Note: Jaxon Mullinnix of  Lone Tree, IA, was recently named the Iowa state winner of the 2017 GROWMARK essay Read More
AGCO Operator of the Year Tony Kornder
SprayersAGCO Names Tony Kornder Operator Of The Year
December 1, 2016
AGCO Corp. names Tony Kornder with Genesis Growing Solutions in Le Sueur, MN, the 11th annual Operator of the Year. Read More