GROWMARK on Board with ResponsibleAg

responsibleagThe Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) recently announced the selection of individuals to serve on the newly formed ResponsibleAg Board of Directors.

The nine representatives include:
– Alicia Duke, Director, Health and Safety, Simplot
– Justin Gough, Director, Agricultural Products, LSB/El Dorado Chemical Company
– Dave Ito, Manager, Human Resources & Regulatory Affairs, Lyman/Tremont Group
– Pete Mutschler, Environmental and Safety Director, CHS Inc.
– Tim McArdle, Executive Vice President & COO, Brandt Consolidated, Inc.
– Rosemary O’Brien, Vice President, Public Affairs, CF Industries, Inc.
– Billy Pirkle, Sr. Director, Environmental, Health & Safety, Crop Production Services
– Scott Rawlins, Director, Regulatory & Governmental Affairs, Wilbur-Ellis Company
– Rod Wells, Manager, Plant Food Division, GROWMARK, Inc.

Wells says it’s important for GROWMARK to be involved in this non-profit organization designed to work with retailers ensuring best practices are in place providing a safe product to the consumer.

“This is an industry led initiative,” said Rod. “We want to demonstrate that we are doing the right things, that we are operating safety, we’re complying with regulations, that we are accountable. We feel like ResponsibleAg is a very transparent way to show that we are committed, compliant, and safe operators in the communities that we serve.”

You can listen to an interview with Rod here: Interview with Rod Wells, GROWMARK

The board of directors for ResponsibleAg will meet next month to finalize bi-laws, an operating budget, elect officers and begin looking for a business manager to oversee the day to day operations of the new organization.

ResponsibleAg is an independent, not-for-profit organization designed to support fertilizer retailers’ compliance with federal safety and security regulations. Under ResponsibleAg, retail fertilizer dealerships will have access to comprehensive inspections based on federal regulatory requirements. The inspections will be carried out by trained auditors who will have successfully completed an intensive training course based on the objectives of ResponsibleAg.

Conference on Improved Testing of Liming Materials

166On 12 November 2013, members of the U.S. agricultural lime industry met near Iowa State University to discuss improving the measurement of limestone reactivity to better predict pH changes in soils. The goal of this conference was to compare current practices with other developed methodologies to determine if there are opportunities to improve measuring limestone reactivity in soils among a variety of liming materials. Research has shown that optimizing soil pH levels can help producers improve their yields while lowering environmental impacts in support of the Nutrient Management Strategy. In attendance were key leaders from the lime industry, academia and USDA.

According to conference presenters, current U.S. methods for testing liming material reactivity involve strong acids that may not reflect how they behave in soil environments. The methods are quick and repeatable, but the accuracy of these methods to describe a given material’s behavior in soil is unknown. It may be possible that the neutralizing capacity determined by these methods overestimates the actual reactivity of liming materials in the soil, which indicates the need for further investigation of improved methods. Further, current methods that don’t predict soil-based reactivity with accuracy are not compatible with advancements in precision ag technology.

“Research has shown that the most important factors when liming are your pH goal, material source, its particle size, and placement in the field,” said Dr. Andrew Hoiberg, Director of Research and Development at Calcium Products. “There’s a wide range of purity between various types of limestone and their ability to dissolve in the soil solution. We know that smaller particles react faster in the soil, but the overall reactivity is still very dependent on the source of the material.”

Dr. Dan Olk, Research Soil Scientist with the USDA-ARS National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment reported that the current U.S. lime methods only measure the potential reactivity. These methods appear unlikely to tell the grower the rate of reactivity of agricultural lime materials based on the chemical composition of the limestone, soil type and soil pH. By contrast, reactivity-based test methods could inform producers how quickly a specific lime source will actually react to increase soil pH. Successful implementation of such methods would allow growers to make better use of fertilizer inputs and reduce excess nutrients lost to the environment.

Link to full press release.

CHS introduces XLR-rate

_DSC2634Maria Abbott is an agronomist with the crop nutrients division of CHS. She talks about XLR-rate which is a low salt starter fertilizer that has been on the market for just over a year.

“We think about 40% of the corn is actually put down with a starter fertilizer”

Maria says that boosting yields is the goal for XLR-rate and that it promotes early season growth in cold, wet soil. Growers are looking for the extra push to boost those yields come harvest time.

Listen to my complete interview with Maria here: Interview with Maria Abbott, CHS

2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

TeeJet Introduces New Line

TeeJet TechnologiesThe new line of TXR ConeJet hollow cone spray tips from TeeJet Technologies offers growers a new tip option for air blast, directed and specialty spraying applications. The TXR produces an 80º hollow cone spray pattern with fine to very fine droplets for thorough leaf coverage. This tip is well-suited for application of insecticides, fungicides, foliar fertilizers and related products which are commonly applied in orchard, vineyard and vegetable operations.

The TXR ConeJet tips are offered in twelve color-coded sizes based on tip flow rate for easy capacity identification. They are offered in a range of capacities from 0.046 GPM to 1.45 GPM flow rates with a recommended operating pressure of 30-360 PSI. The low profile acetal (polymer) tip body provides minimal impact with foliage and excellent chemical resistance. The orifice is made of high quality ceramic to provide superior wear-life in high pressure applications. The TXR ConeJet uses a snap-fit backup plate to provide positive retention when handled in the field which can be removed tool-free for easy cleaning. These tips are best suited for use with TeeJet 98450 Series Brass Rollover fittings or Quick TeeJet bodies and 114369-1-NYR cap.

Nominations Open for 2014 4R Advocate Program

4R_NutrientStewardship_largeThe Fertilizer Institute (TFI) recently launched the 2014 4R Advocate Awards Program. They are calling for entires from retailers wishing to highlight the exceptional nutrient stewardship practices of their grower customers. The program is in it’s third year and recognizes farmers who are protecting the environment, boosting profitability and benefiting society through nutrient stewardship practices based on the 4R’s.

Use of the right nutrient source at the right time, at the right rate at the right time and in the right place.

“The farmers honored in the 4R Advocate program know that environmental protection and economic prosperity are not mutually exclusive,” said TFI President Chris Jahn. “This award program adds value to the 4R nutrient stewardship initiative by engaging growers and retailers with peers who can share their fertilizer best management practices success stories.”

The five winning growers will win a trip to Commodity Classic where they will see the latest agricultural innovations first-hand, meet other growers and agricultural leaders from across the county and will be honored at a banquet.

2013 4R Advocate winners Rick and Jesse Brunner, of Fifth Generation Farms, recently spoke about the importance of 4Rs in preserving their land for future generations. “The 4R program epitomizes our philosophy to farm management. We strive to improve our overall soil health, to limit our environmental impact, and to increase our profits while continuing the farm legacy we received.”

Entries are due by November 12. For a nomination form and more information on the 2014 4R Advocate Awards Program is available here. Winners will be announced in mid-December. For questions contact the TFI Director of Stewardship Programs, Lara Moody, by telephone at (202) 515-2721 or via e-mail at

Fertilizer Use in Argentina

ifaj13-profetilFertilizer use is on the rise in Argentina, which is a major contributor to increasing yields in that country. We found out more about that during the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) Congress in Argentina.

We visited Profertil, a joint venture with Canada’s Agrium and the nation’s largest fertilizer producer. “The use of fertilizer technology has improved a lot,” said Profertil commercial manager Pablo Pussetto. “More or less, 80% of all the urea consumed in Argentina is supplied by Profertil,” he said.

Argentine crop yields have doubled in the past two decades as fertilizer use has increased 10 fold with farmer education. “We cannot continue mining our soil to make our agricultural practice,” said Pussetto. “We need to replenish the nutrients in every system.”

The approach to farmers in Argentina is similar to the 4R message in the United States – the right source, the right rate, the right time, and the right place. “The concept is not to use a lot of fertilizer but to use the correct fertilizer, the correct amount of fertilizer in order to maximize not only economic value or yield but at the same time make your crop more sustainable,” Pussetto said.

Argentina supplies much of its own nitrogen and urea fertilizers, but needs to import phosphate from other countries, including the United States, as most of the soils in the major producing area are phosphate deficient. Interview with Profertil's Pablo Pussetto

2013 IFAJ Congress Photo Album

New John Deere Liquid Fertilizer Applicator

On display at the Farm Progress Show in the John Deere exhibit was the new 2014 2510L Liquid Fertilizer Applicator, making sidedressing easier.  

_DSC2085“Precision nutrient application technology has grown in importance as our customers continue to address environmental concerns while improving fertilizer use efficiency for the plant,” says Travis Harrison, product specialist from John Deere. “The 2510L enables customers to maximize crop yields through more accurate and timely liquid fertilizer placement.”

This latest model is available in two different models with vertical folds that are 30- and 40-foot with a side fold widths up to 66 feet.  There are 18 spacing and control options and Deere is offering one of the largest tank options, up to 2,400 gallons.

Listen to Travis explain here: Interview with Travis Harrison

2013 Farm Progress Show Photo Album

Calcium Products at Farm Progress Show

fps-13-725-editedCalcium Products, Inc. was answering farmers’ questions about soil and fertility at the 2013 Farm Progress Show last week.

Craig Dick, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Calcium Products, says they have been around for quite awhile. “Calcium Products is a 26 year-old company,” he said during an interview at the show. “We produce the countries purest, most efficient pelletized gypsum and lime products, SuperCal S04 and SuperCal 98G. And we distribute the products all across North America.”

Calcium Products has recently redesigned their website, Now it is easier to find resources to help you optimize your soil and raise your bottom line. Find product information and custom calculators, agronomy research, stories of real results and much more. The company also recently named a new CEO to succeed Larry Moore, who founded and grew the business into one of the largest producers of pelletized limestone and gypsum in the world. Mike Hogan joins Calcium Products as CEO following a 24 year career with John Deere.

Learn more about Calcium Products in this interview with Craig: Interview with Craig Dick
Check out photos from the event here: 2013 Farm Progress Show Photo Album

Coverage of the 2013 Farm Progress show is sponsored by Bayer CropScience, Growmark and New Holland

ACRES Crop Management Tool

steyerIn a crowded marketplace, Steyer Seeds continues to innovate as a growing, progressive company with access to the best genetics and a new proprietary crop management tool marrying farmers’ data with seed attributes.

ACRES (Advanced Crop Revenue Enhancement System) is an innovative, new program that was unveiled earlier this year at the 48th National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Ky. ACRES combines on-farm data about soil attributes, crop rotation, etc. with the unique performance attributes of seed, chemical and fertilizer products to ensure optimal performance.

ACRES offers customers the following benefits:
• Steyer has access to all trait platforms so trait rotation is taken into account in order to avoid insect resistance to Bt events
• Order placement component ties into Steyer’s inventory in real time
• Geo-fulfillment component to improve delivery efficiencies
• Herbicide sensitivity ratings on hybrids are noted

ACRES is built upon the Data-Driven Farming System by MyFarms to combine proprietary product knowledge with the data farmers own and manage to improve crop production. ACRES leverages the core structure of MyFarms to provide a robust, comprehensive crop management tool that allows farmers to benefit from Steyer’s experts to ensure success.

Reaping the Rewards of Good Soil Investment

ctic-13-jean-payne“The wealth of Illinois is in her soil, and her strength lies in its intelligent development.” That quote was from one of the first presidents of the University of Illinois almost 200 years, but attendees of the recent Conservation Technology Information Center tour in Livingston County, Ill., heard it reiterated by Jean Payne, President of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association, who spoke at one of the tour dinners.

She says, while many recognize the need for good investment in that great natural resource, the recent economic troubles of Illinois has ended up cutting any state funding to nurture that investment. Rather than relying on the government, members of Jean’s group decided they’d take their own fate in their own hands and not be dragged down by what went on with the politicians.

“Are we going to let this tremendous [ag] industry get sucked down the vacuum that is becoming our state government? I said ‘No!’”

They went to other ag groups, including the Farm Bureau, corn and soybean growers, pork producers and Syngenta Crop Protection, and they were able to raise support for research. Eventually, they talked the Illinois legislature into letting them put together their own fertilizer checkoff that the groups, not the state, would manage. Now, they’re able to collect $2.5 million each year that they can use to be good stewards of the land.

“Despite the fact that we have a vacuum in our state government, I feel phenomenal about where our Illinois agriculture stands with our nutrient stewardship efforts. And it’s only going to get better,” Jean said.

She said they’ll need to keep working to educate people about the need for the checkoff and the dividends it pays on that investment.

“We have had to fight for this, [but] everything in life worth having is worth fighting for.”

Listen to Jean’s remarks to the CTIC group here: Jean Payne, President of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association

2013 Conservation in Action Tour Photo Album

Chemigation Looks Back On 30 Years

agij_anniv_logoGary Newton remembers the very moment the concept of chemigation came to him.

“In 1969, I was swathing some hay next to one of my sprinklers I had just installed. I looked back and saw the sprinkler covering the entire field with just one pass,” he said. “I thought that had to be better than making multiple passes across the field to apply fertilizer or crop protection products.”

That epiphany eventually led to the official establishment of Agri-Inject, Inc. in 1983. Thirty years later, Agri-Inject continues to define and refine the concept of fluid injection technology—helping growers around the world improve efficiency and effectiveness of crop inputs by applying them through irrigation systems.

Today, Agri-Inject is on the cutting edge of fluid injection technology and accuracy, bringing precision agriculture to pivot irrigation.

The Agri-Inject line-up includes a wide variety of systems for application of insecticides, fertilizer, herbicides and fungicides. There are large capacity systems that can apply soil amendments across an entire field. The new BoundaryRider targets the perimeter of a field to prevent pest infestations. New variable rate Agri-Inject systems are being introduced that are aligned with precision technology rapidly being adopted and enhanced in irrigation and crop management. Goes Mobile

micro_essentials_logoThe Mosaic Company has released another digital tool for farmers to gather important information that can help increase efficiency and generate higher yields.

Recognizing the fact that farmers are increasingly using tablets and smartphones to increase production, The Mosaic Company responded by recently unveiling a mobile site for its premium fertilizer, MicroEssentials.

The new mobile site for MicroEssentials will provide its customers with a more efficient and convenient user experience, particularly as retailers strive to better serve growers in their own fields and offices. site analytics confirm increasing use of mobile platforms. In certain months, mobile visits consist of more than 40 percent of the website traffic, and the average number of mobile visits year-round is increasing consistently.

New Ag Chem Company Launched

A new agriculture and chemical company has been formed to produce and market a next generation of urease inhibitor.

ecoagroEco Agro Resources was launched on May 1, with its patent-pending flagship product, N-Yield.

David McKnight, CEO states “Eco Agro Resources is made up of 30 team members with over 100 years of agriculture and chemical experience. We have multiple lab and manufacturing locations with a home base in High Point, NC. Our current chemical sales are projected to top $50 million USD annually, while our global presence and patent pending technologies continue to expand.”

Ray Perkins President of Sales says, “Our flagship product, N-YieldTM is an environmentally friendly nitrogen inhibitor solution that is used to treat urea and UAN based fertilizers to improve the retention of nitrogen content in soil. N-YieldTM can be used to coat either urea granules or can be mixed with ammonium nitrate (UAN) solutions and offers several advantages over the current brands available.”

Eco Agro ResourcesTM offers a strategic limited distribution business model as well as co-branding opportunities. We are a previous active ingredient supplier to leading urease inhibitor brands.

Northern Plains Nitrogen to Build New Facility

npnitrogenNorthern Plains Nitrogen (NPN) officials have announced to build and operate a $1.5 billion nitrogen fertilizer production facility near Grand Forks, N.D. The world-scale production facility will include a 2,200 ton per day ammonia plant plus urea and Urea-Ammonium-Nitrate (UAN) production facilities.

North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple said, “This is an exciting opportunity for Grand Forks, the State of North Dakota, and the Northern Plains. This plant will utilize the increasing supplies of natural gas across the region and will provide a reliable regional supply of fertilizer while reducing producers’ dependence on imported products.”

The facility will be located on land adjacent to the Grand Forks Wastewater Treatment Plant. Larry Mackie, NPN Chief Operations Officer, says it’s a perfect location, and called the flat ground where the plant will be built, “a site that is as good as it gets for our purposes.” There are currently discussions underway for NPN to utilize the wastewater effluent from the Grand Forks wastewater treatment process for the plant’s water supply. NPN CEO, Don Pottinger notes, “this green-field world-scale production facility will be among the safest, most efficient and environmentally compliant ever constructed. By using modern technology which, among other benefits, reduces our carbon footprint, the NPN facility is taking shape to be a very exciting and worthwhile undertaking.”

Northern Plains Nitrogen was created by farmers in the Northern Plains as a result of research conducted by North Dakota State University. The research was funded by the Corn Growers Organizations of North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota, and the Manitoba Canola and North Dakota Soybean Councils. The North Dakota Department of Commerce is working closely with the company to identify state programs that can be utilized for the plant’s construction.

Precision Pays Podcast: Adaptive nitrogen management

pp-podcastWhat if there was a way to know if too much nitrogen is applied one year or not enough the next year – before the application is ever made?

Cornell University professor of soil science Harold van Es says by utilizing adaptive nitrogen management they’re trying to account for the many factors that influence how much nitrogen a corn crop will actually need.

In this Precision Pays Podcast, sponsored by Ag Leader Technology, we’ll talk to Harold van Es of Cornell University about Adapt-N.

Precision Pays Podcast

You can subscribe to the Precision Pays Podcast here.

The Precision Pays Podcast is sponsored by Ag Leader Technology.