Keep An Eye on Critical Crop Nutrients

07:58PM Apr 13, 2020
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Galynn Beer, national sales manager at AgroLiquid, says he’s encouraging ag retailers to take on a consultative role with farmers as they’re making crop fertility decisions for this 2020 crop year.

Here's a Q&A with Beer and it was featured on a recent AgPro podcast. 

What is AgroLiquid’s distribution network? 

Our current distribution network is that we have five manufacturing plants: one in Michigan where the home base is; one in north central Iowa; one in northwest Kansas; one in North Dakota; and another one in Stockton, California. From there, we rely on an independent channel that actually is the customer-facing piece of our products, so we distribute to an extensive network of retailers scattered all across the country from North Carolina all the way to California, but our highest concentration is really in that Great Plains High/Plains area.  

What is driving farmers’ crop fertility choices in 2020?

Especially in the area of crop fertility, farmers are going to have this pecking order of covering what they see is most limiting. In corn or any of your nonlegume crops, at the top is nitrogen. And after they’ve met that need, they’ll ask what budget do I have leftover? And you’re going to see some odd decisions where they might eliminate some critical micronutrients. Or they might eliminate some potassium or phosphorus. Our biggest concern is nitrogen is going to be king, but really, these other nutrients are critical to crop production, too.

What products may need more attention for the return on investment they provide? 

It really depends on geography and soil types. Phosphorus and micronutrients are always going to be a primary concern in high pH soils. It’s taken a few years for everyone to recognize that sulfur isn’t as available as it used to be, so we need to apply that nutrient, particularly in high-pH soils. In more wet climates, boron and molybdenum seem to be a hot topic right now. And some are seeing value in applying magnesium and calcium.

What’s your overall message for 2020? 

I would encourage ag retailers to be there as a resource for farmers, so they can help buffer out some of the farmers’ recency bias. Sometimes the memory of last year and its impact on our business carry forward, and we make our plans according to that worst-case scenario. We actually need to just reset and look at what’s normal rather than looking at an outlier. I often say don’t let one bad golf shot lead to two or three more.