Northern 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.
What 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.
Planting is definitely running behind normal in the Corn Belt, but it’s nothing to worry about just yet.
“Just stick to the original plan” when it comes to nutrient management,” says John Grandin, Senior Field Sales Agronomist at GROWMARK, Inc. “If the original plan calls for spring-applied anhydrous ammonia, then stick with spring-applied anhydrous ammonia.”
However, Grandin points out the possibility of burning corn roots or even killing the seedling if application is followed too quickly by planting. “We can manage that by putting the anhydrous ammonia on at an angle to the direction of row planting,” he said. That will help decrease the possibility of free ammonia being trapped in the knife track as a result of wetter soils. “We don’t want to be planting directly on top of the anhydrous knife track for any length of row.”
Jennifer Ray, Ag Communication major at California Polytechnic University participated in an ad design contest along with her classmates. Designs we submitted and carefully looked over for overall design, message and effectiveness of the ad. There were all well done, Jennifer’s ad rose to the top with creative concepts, alignment with AgroLiquid brand standards, and ease of understanding the message quickly. Jennifer’s ad design was published in AG CIRCLE magazine.
At the beginning of this year, closing the Mississippi River to barge traffic as a result of low water levels was a very real possibility, but that crisis has been averted thanks to some Army Corps of Engineers work.
“There was an emergency move by the Army Corps of Engineers to blast rocks out of the river floor at Thebes and Grant Tower, Illinois,” said Tracy Mack, director of bulk and packaged goods logistics for GROWMARK. “That added about two feet to the navigable channel between Memphis and St. Louis.”
That project was complete by the beginning of February, sooner than expected, and some timely rains also helped. “Because of the recent rains and the forecast rain right now, we’re not in imminent danger of closure,” said Mack. “It’s looking that we have enough water to get us through the month of March at least if drought continues.”
Bottom line as far as Mack is concerned, there should be no impact on fertilizer movement or availability due to transportation on the mighty Mississippi. It was a different situation when Tracy was a guest on the AgFanatics podcast in early January so he is glad it has improved.
Koch Agronomic Services is on display here at AG CONNECT Expo. I visited with Greg Schwab, Director of Agronomy (pictured with the company team), to learn what he’s talking to farmer attendees about.
Greg says the company has grown tremendously in the last two years with multiple acquisitions to add to their product lineup. One of the key issues he’s talking to attendees about is nitrogen management. He’s also talking about the company commitment to “scientific integrity.” He says that they’ve been working with university researchers around the country to make sure the products they develop bring real value to producers that will help their bottom line.
GROWMARK, Inc., Bloomington, Ill., announced it has agreed to purchase Bunge North America’s interest in B-G Fertilizer, LLC.
B-G Fertilizer, LLC owns and operates the former CF Industries terminal located in Cincinnati, Ohio to serve the needs of retail customers that provide fertilizer to farmers. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
GROWMARK and Bunge also announced that GROWMARK will lease Bunge fertilizer assets located in Council Bluffs, Iowa and Fulton, Illinois. These facilities will be incorporated into the current GROWMARK portfolio to expand the cooperative’s scope and reach.
Overall, the acquisition and lease agreements represent approximately 130,000 tons of dry and liquid plant food storage.
GROWMARK is opening a new dry terminal in Stuart, Iowa. The facility will handle granular urea, mono-ammonium phosphate, and white potash. It has a capacity for 18 railcars with six 10 ton hoppers and five micro-hoppers. That equates to around 15,500 tons of capacity.
In this Precision Pays Podcast, sponsored by Ag Leader Technology, we’ll take a closer look at the new technologies that make this facility state of the art.
If you have never seen a brand new, empty dry terminal – here is your opportunity.
GROWMARK is opening a new dry terminal in Stuart, Iowa very soon – the first loads of product will arrive next week to test the system – and some of the agricultural media had a chance to get a tour last week to learn about it. The 15,500 ton facility will handle granular urea, monoammonium phosphate and white potash. It has capacity for 18 railcars with six 10 ton hoppers, five micro hoppers and a blending capacity of 300 tons per hour.
In this video, GROWMARK Plant Food Operations Manager Brian Hundman provides a behind-the-scenes look at the new facility in its nearly complete stage. You can also check out photos from the media tour last week in this photo album.
If farmers could determine the concentration, form and location of plant-available nitrogen, deciding when and where and how much to apply would be that much easier.
That’s the goal of N-Watch, which started this year as a small scale, pilot program by GROWMARK in partnership with FS Member Cooperatives. The objectives of the program are to quantify the form of available, soil-applied nitrogen (N), where it is located, and what happens to the concentration of available N over time in the upper 0-12 and 12-24 inch profiles of the soil.
“We go out after harvest and take an inventory of plant available nitrogen,” explained GROWMARK Agronomy Services Manager Dr. Howard Brown. “Once we have that determination, we take composite samples after that every 2-4 weeks, track the nitrogen until it freezes, then after it thaws in the spring we’ll continue to pull the samples to see if the residual nitrogen is still there.”
Brown says it’s not an exact science, “but it’s a move in the right direction, this is what we need to be doing.” GROWMARK has over 45 sites in Illinois now and they are now moving in to new sites in Iowa, where we heard about the program last week during a GROWMARK media tour.
GROWMARK is so excited about the N-Watch concept that they want it to spread quickly. “We came up with the phrase (N-Watch) but we gave the license to the Illinois Council for Best Management Practices so that it can be utilized in the Midwest,” said Howard. “It would be great if everybody used N-Watch.”
What is your favorite app on your phone? How does it make your life easier?
Advanced Ag Solutions, LLC is trying to make it easier for farmers with their recently launched Optimizer 2.0 app. It allows users to upload GPS soil sampling data and then use that information to leverage the information they already have (and use) even further.
In this Precision Pays Podcast, sponsored by Ag Leader Technology, Advanced Ag Solutions president Daryl Starr explains Optimizer 2.0 and how farmers can benefit – no matter the size of their operations.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach highlighted the Corn Nitrogen Rate Calculator that is available to help farmers find the maximum return to nitrogen fertilizer applications and the most profitable application rate for their farm.
The Corn Nitrogen Rate Calculator can be found here.
This online tool is rapidly updated to allow for changing hybrid genetics, rotations and climatic conditions. The Iowa database in the calculator was updated in 2012 with 2011 response data and now contains 214 trials for corn following soybean and 111 trials for corn following corn.
The calculator can be used for both corn and soybean rotations and corn-on-corn operations. It allows farmers to compare up to five price ratios – pricing options for nitrogen and corn. Farmers can reach out to their local fertilizer suppliers to find current fertilizer prices
The calculator then lets farmers determine the optimal rate of application based on up to four different corn prices.
AgGateway’s Precision Ag Council has launched a new project that will improve the data exchange processes that drive the use of precision agriculture field equipment for such major operations as seeding, tillage, spraying, fertilizing and harvesting. The Standardized Precision Ag Data Exchange (SPADE) project is intended to streamline and encourage adoption of precision ag practices.
Currently, costs for exchanging data in the world of precision agriculture are high due to the lack of common implementation guidelines, data transfer protocols, message standards and standard reference data. Producers report that it is difficult or nearly impossible to move data from one system to another.
The ultimate objective of the project is to make the benefits of precision ag available to all growers and ag retailers. This will be done by reducing the complexity of the process and lowering the cost of entry.
Companies interested in joining the SPADE project should contact Marilyn Hunter, AgGateway’s Enabling Services Director at Marilyn@aggateway.org.
As winter approaches, it’s the best time to determine if crops hit by the 2012 drought left any residual nitrogen (N) or other nutrients in your soil profile.
Residual soil nitrates can be higher after a drought where N was applied. This happens because of decreased downward soil water movement and reduced N uptake by drought-stressed plants. The effect of the 2012 drought on phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) is largely dependent on how the crop was managed. While less P and K may be removed at harvest as an outcome of lower grain yields, P and K removal could be greater than planned if the plant was cut for silage instead of harvested for grain.
With regard to N, farmers should be incorporating the 4R Nutrient Stewardship program and consider the following:
- How much applied N is left in the soil profile?
- How much of that N will remain in the soil until next spring?
- What can be done to prevent its loss?
- What adjustments need to be made to fertilizer rates for the next crop?
Sampling is key, especially after a drought, because drought reduces crop uptake and removal of nutrients. Whether or not residual N will be available for next season’s crop depends greatly on the precipitation that occurs after harvest. In the Midwest, nitrate losses are associated with wet periods during fall, winter and early spring when roots are not actively taking up N. Soil testing and plant analysis remain the best tools for quantifying the drought’s impact and adjusting nutrient management.
More information about the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Program is available here.
Just about this time last year, the GROWMARK Plant Food Division reorganized for continued growth both within and beyond the core Midwest FS territory. A year later, they have lots to show for it – including a brand new dry and liquid plant food storage facility in Casey, Illinois.
Core Market Plant Food Sales Director Joe Kilgus says the new facility was a good investment for GROWMARK to help support their FS members. “Obviously we need good distribution, having fertilizer in the right place at the right time,” he said during a recent tour of the terminal. “Teaming up with TGM gave us a location with capabilities of bringing in unit trains, which is valuable for purchasing fertilizer.”
Kilgus says GROWMARK’s Plant Food Division offers a variety of services for FS members that have become increasingly important in our global economy. “What happens in China, what happens in India, Europe, all around the globe, does have an affect on the prices of fertilizer here in the U.S.,” he said. “GROWMARK provides the service and the manpower to keep up on that world market. You have to be in that market every day and watch it. The price of oil, the value of the dollar, all of that affects fertilizer prices.”
GROWMARK also helps FS member companies and grower members by encouraging more efficient use of fertilizer. “GROWMARK’s a big supporter and promoter of precision farming. We also promote the 4Rs – right product, right place, right time at the right rate. We don’t want to see fertilizer over-applied, we want to see it put on correctly. We have a growing population to feed and we want to help farmers maximize what they produce.”