Discovering more options for managing crop nutrients

Increasing scrutiny of the state’s water quality is demanding that farmers in Ohio take a closer look at their nutrient management practices.

Those who attended this week’s research field day up in St. Johns, Mich. at the Agro-Culture Liquid headquarters got to see extensive research demonstrating how the company is feeding the needs of the crop and not the soil.

“We apply less nutrients because they are more available. They are 80% or 90% available compared to the 20% availability of dry products. You have to apply much more dry product for the same result,” said Troy Bancroft, Agro-Culture Liquid CEO. “When you are putting the product right in the correct seed zone with the plant using more of the nutrient, it creates less runoff and environmental impact.”

The company got its start more than 30 years ago and the current lines of Liquid products were developed after Bancroft and his father-in-law could not find the types of products they wanted for vegetable production that is predominant in the area. They worked to develop complete and balanced fertilizers that include the macro- and micronutrients plants need.

“They have N, P and K with secondary and trace elements that make it the whole package and the sum is greater than the total,” Bancroft said. “Once we proved those fundamentals worked on vegetable crops, we got into general agriculture some 25 years ago. We improved with in-row placement as opposed to banding to get more effective use of the product and more yield potential.”

Research continues at the Michigan facility in part to demonstrate how the products can fit into different production systems.

“We have 580 acres of tillable ground on our research farm,” said Galynn Beer, senior sales manager for Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizer. “In the end, the grower is going to determine our value on his farm. We’re trying to put it out in a lot of different ways so that the growers can match it up to their management styles and maximize the return from it. This is for the growers’ benefit, not our benefit.

“The nutrition of this is readily available to the plants, so we’re not looking at what we are applying to the soil, we are looking at what the plant will see and use. We are so conditioned to think about what we are applying to the soil and assuming that all makes it to the plant. There are a lot of fates that nutrition can suffer that aren’t advantageous if we are not careful with how we manage it.”

 

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