Helena’s H3: A ‘Systems’ Crop Nutrition Approach

Planter in Iowa

Helena Chemical’s newest fertility offering involves using three specific products to achieve one consistent bump in crop yield.


An old saying claims that to solve any problem, “two heads are better than one.” But when it comes to solving issues in the area of crop nutrition and consistent yield, three might be the magic number.

During the recent 2016 Commodity Classic show, Helena Chemical Co.’s Northern Business Unit unveiled its newest crop nutrition offering called H3. A trio of Helena products — Hydra-Hume, Nucleus, and CoRoN — H3 will be available to ag retailers and their grower-customers across the Northern Business Unit’s territory. This includes the states of Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Kansas, Nebraska, the Eastern portions of the Dakotas, and Missouri (except in the “Bootheel” section of the state).

According to Adam Taylor, Strategic Accounts Manager for the Northern Business Unit, H3 is another example of a company-wide philosophy Helena tends to follow in all its endeavors — combining assets to achieve better results. “At Helena, we’ve always taken a very systems-oriented approach to whatever we do,” says Taylor. “When you have a series of products working together, you can achieve superior results.”

Developing H3

In creating H3 for the marketplace, Dr. Greg Willoughby, Technical Services Manager for the Northern Business Unit, Helena utilized 10 years’ worth of company data to pick three crop nutrition offerings that could work in tandem to achieve higher crop yields for customers.

Greg Willoughby, Helena Chemical

Greg Willoughby, Helena Chemical, Technical Services Manager for the Northern Business Unit.

“For example, Hydra-Hume works in the soil and helps make nutrients available to the crops,” says Willoughby. “Nucleus is a starter fertilizer, and this helps the developing plants get off to a strong start. Finally, CoRoN is a controlled-release foliar nitrogen that allows users to provide crops with nitrogen during periods of peak usage, while minimizing the chance of leaching.”

Willoughby says 2016 is perfect timing for introducing H3 to the agricultural market.

“When farmers are starting to look at their production systems, and experiencing high input costs and low commodity prices, they should realize there are key pieces of their production systems that need to be maintained to create a foundation for achieving strong yields,” he says. “Healthy soil and a strong fertility program can increase productivity and financial returns. Helena’s H3 system helps achieve maximum productivity from the land by utilizing the 4R Nutrient Management Strategy: Using the right fertilizer source, at the right rate, at the right time, and in the right place.”

Willoughby says the consequences of not creating a high-yield agronomic foundation can be quite serious for growers. “Based upon the research, you are probably looking at a 5% to 7% yield reduction if your soils are poor, you haven’t used a starter fertilizer, and your nitrogen management is inadequate,” he says. “Overall, this means you could see a yield swing of 15% to 21% if these factors aren’t properly addressed in the crop production system.”

The Word From The Field

According to growers who have tried H3 products in their fields, results have backed up this research. “Nucleus HP gets my corn off to a better start and gives me a more uniform stand,” says Ryan Geiger, an Indiana corn grower. “It also improves the health of my corn plants, which equates to higher yields.”

CoRoN has helped in a similar manner, he says. “I tried CoRoN several years ago when I had stressed and nitrogen-deficient corn,” says Geiger. “It greened up my corn and turned it around. Since my great experience with CoRoN several years ago, I have incorporated CoRoN in my nitrogen program. It is another way I can split my nitrogen up and reduces my chance of nitrogen loss. It also helps supplement my corn with boron, which our soils are lacking.

“The H3 products are very important and each have their fit in my fertility program,” he continues. “They supplement and help make my fertility program more efficient. This increases my yields and my profits.”

Overall, says Helena’s Willoughby, the H3 system will probably become an important tool in the crop nutrition programs for many users around the country over the next few years because of its yield-improving potential. “If the three areas H3 targets — soil, starter fertilizer, and effective nitrogen management — are managed correctly, farmers will have a really good foundation to help build up their crop yields,” he says. “If these elements are not present, however, there are no options on the market that will pick up the slack agronomically.”