When it comes to retailers thinking about their storage facility and how that relates to the 4Rs (Right Source of Nutrients at the Right Rate and Right Time in the Right Place) we thought who better to ask than John Oster of Morral Companies, LLC. John has been a champion of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program since its inception.
- John, you have been a leading advocate of this program since its inception, even being recognized with the 2019 Distinguished Service Award from The Nutrient Stewardship Council – why is this something you are so passionate about?
The liquid fertilizers we manufacture at Morral fit perfectly into the 4R program, since they can be precisely placed onto the seed and into the root zone without affecting germination and maximizing uptake by the developing plant. It’s a perfect match that results in virtually no loss of nutrient. Also, the farmers with whom we work are the very best stewards of the land. They want, need and actually demand that the products and services we provide help them protect their birthright for generations to come. It is our obligation as their supplier to do just that.
- Morral has been very active with OABA and other businesses regarding the algal blooms in Lake Erie – have you seen improvements as the support of the program continues to spread?
We have heard from lake experts that the walleye hatches two of the last three years have been among the largest ever reported in the Western (Lake Erie) Basin. Others talk of clearly seeing the rocks on the bottom of the lake as they fish in twenty feet of water out by the islands. That just doesn’t happen by accident, and is the best indicator we can think of to show that 4Rs and other nutrient management practices are producing positive outcomes.
- What is Morral’s approach to train and educate your employees and patrons on the 4Rs?
We base our program on the voluntary aspects of the certification program. And due to the quality of our growers, the recommendations we make are readily and enthusiastically adopted. This all goes back to the grower and his affinity with his land and his recognition that 4R stewardship protects and enhances the quality of his soils. It’s a win-win scenario that he readily accepts. And it is a win for us because he sees that we are also committed to his success.
- How has your new facility helped you with supporting your 4R initiatives?
We have increased production capacity and much-improved efficiency, and our already-great quality control protocols are made even better by our new processes. This positions us to be able to handle the seasonal press of business much more efficiently. Our growers will get what they need, when they need it in order to satisfy the 4R components of “time” and “place”.
- How has your new liquid fertilizer manufacturing building helped improve your efficiencies?
Marcus Construction was able to take our vision of our new facility and translate it into an extremely functional design, for both the building and its manufacturing/storage/logistics requirements.
- Has your new storage facility helped with your inventory control?
We improved and upgraded all of our product handling assets which has cut down on inbound product loss and the new bin construction and heated floors in our dry raw material area will reduce product loss significantly, while also improving the physical environment for the material while it awaits processing. Process loss has been virtually eliminated and finished product quality is improved.