BRANDT’s Brian Haschmeyer, Director of Discovery and Innovation, offers insight into the company’s micronutrients business, what challenges it’s facing, and expectations for the segment in 2018.
CropLife (CL): Tell us about what you have experienced in the micronutrients business in the past year. How much was it impacted, and what are you hearing from dealers?
Brian Haschmeyer (BH): With starter fertilizer usage and application being down this year, there were some challenges in EDTA chelates as a large portion of chelates are put out with starter fertilizers. Despite the challenges with chelates, foliar micronutrients such as BRANDT Smart Trio, BRANDT Smart Quatro, and Smart B Mo remained fairly strong this year.
BRANDT high-performance foliar micronutrients, such as the BRANDT Smart System product line, have gained significant traction over the last seven to eight years, and are now a regular part of customer spray programs. These micros are formulated for tank-mix compatibility with most post-emergent herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides, which adds a lot of value to the grower. They also deliver a very positive ROI. Some of our foliar products, such as BRANDT Smart Trio, cost the grower $5 to $8 per acre and deliver yield increases of five bushels or more on corn and other row crops. It’s a great investment.
CL: How have you overcome challenges in this segment — any specific examples?
BH: The biggest challenge was getting micronutrients approved for use with the new dicamba and 2,4-D formulations. BRANDT began working with herbicides manufacturers and developing new micronutrient formulations for these herbicide over three years ago. This put us in a good position when the herbicides launched this spring. BRANDT has several micronutrient formulations approved for use with Dow’s Enlist Duo and one foliar micronutrient product approved for use with BASF’s Engenia, as well as several approved adjuvants. For more information visit www.brandt.co/tankmixapprovals.
CL: What direction are you taking this business and what do you expect for 2018?
BH: BRANDT’s focus is on expanding its portfolio of approved foliar micronutrients for the new 2,4-D and dicamba chemistries and nutrient efficiency enhancement solutions. We recently submitted 10 new formulations to herbicide manufacturers for review and approval, which includes new proprietary formulations and combinations not currently available.
BRANDT is also focusing efforts on its new BRANDT Smart B and BRANDT Smart B-Mo foliar boron and molybdenum formulations. Both products are formulated with BRANDT’s new “super boron” molecule that was developed in-house. The new boron is compatible with other micronutrients, including calcium, which was very difficult to achieve from a chemistry standpoint and offers growers a lot more application flexibility. The new boron is also one of the most efficient forms of boron currently available. In field and tissue tests, BRANDT Smart B was significantly more mobile and effective than standard 10% liquid boron formulations — delivering an eight bushel per acre advantage on soybeans in one trial and a 16,000 pounds per acre advantage in a recent watermelon trial.