Feedback: We Love It

Your feedback about articles that appear in CropLife eNews, CropLife® magazine, and www.croplife.com provides a compass of what issues are of most interest and importance to you. Editors revel in feedback, knowing that something we’ve written or an article we’ve selected has connected with you in a very real way, whether positive or negative, or even to fill in the information gaps for us. From time to time I like to share some of the recent comments you’ve offered about CropLife eNews articles.

Fertilizer is a hot topic every fall, and after last year’s pricing fallout which affected many retailers, it’s more sensitive this year. It’s been the focus of three straight Pulse of the Market polls, including today’s.

Two comments were submitted in response to the Oct. 13 poll, which asked “How soon will you be putting in your 2010 fertilizer orders?”

“Fertilizer only has one way to go — DOWN. Hopefully the basic producers’ genius management teams are resting well in the bed they have made.” — Anonymous

“There probably won’t be any major shortages of NPK or other nutrient materials this spring. There will be some logistical problems encountered if we have a ‘normal’ spring weatherwise. Dealers are extremely cautious which backs up the manufacturer who is averse to risking inventory buildup. Growers reduced inputs last year without much yield reduction because they had good soil fertility. Weather will make us either genius or goat.” — Alan Robinett

We had one response to the Oct. 20 Pulse of the Market poll, which asked “In terms of pricing as you prepare for the 2010 season, which fertilizer product concerns you most?” Potash received 36 votes, an overwhelming 66.7 percent of those who participated.

“There are quite a few of us in ag that want PCS to suffer from past transgressions and perhaps we are waiting to buy K in hopes of hurting Bill’s (Doyle, president and CEO of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan) stock values.” — John Hester, owner and president of Nichols Ag Service, Nichols, IA, which he and his wife recently sold to neighboring independent retailer O’Toole in Leets, IA.

Fertilizer isn’t the only hot topic that you responded to. You can never count out glyphosate when it comes to crop protection subjects.

My Oct. 20 Weighing In column, “Resistance To Reality?,” talked about a recent study, “U.S. Farmer Awareness of Glyphosate-Resistant Weeds and Resistance Management Strategies," which surveyed growers in six states who plant glyphosate-resistant crops, and found that they “were not very concerned about the emergence of glyphosate-resistant weeds.” I asked about your experiences with your grower-customers and this topic. Here’s what I learned from you:

“Most farmers just wait until there is a problem and then ask their local dealer how to fix it. This will be very agravating considering they caused the problem with cheap glyphosate off the Internet.” — Anonymous

“Amy: Growers have been bombarded with this information and really can’t (and don’t) plead ignorance on the subject or practice. It basically comes down to their convenience, and to some degree economics. Growers in this area use the excuse that wheat in the rotation will serve as the alternate ‘mode of action’ (MOA) the experts call for. However, the main issue is the lack of dependable broadleaf weed control alternative products for soybeans and sugarbeets, at least in our area. Corn has good product alternatives, but it is not yet a major crop for us. Irregardless, it will be even harder to get growers to mix MOAs when a generic glyphosate treatment can be had for about $2.25/acre in 2010. Another attitude I run into regularly is ‘I didn’t pay that tech fee to risk battling weeds in my Roundup crops.’ Right or wrong, these are the issues we deal with on a continual basis.” — Craig Edwards, Ada, MN

Thank you to each person that responded. We take your feedback very seriously; it helps direct us so that we can continue to deliver the most useful, insightful information that you need to keep your business successful.

As long as we’re talking about responses, I haven’t had any for my proposed Veterans Day feature. My request may have focused too much on those currently serving, but certainly, if a veteran on your staff is actively promoting patriotism or participating in a local Veterans Day activity, I’d love to hear about that.

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