Expect the Unexpected

By: Galynn Beer, National Sales Manager

 

In agriculture, we are used to dealing with uncertainty. Weather, markets, the level of uncertainty
that exists in our geography, all are factors in making crop input decisions. Trade wars and
tariffs, along with Market Facilitation Programs (MFPs), have been harder to predict and factor
into decisions and has caused some frustration. But we’ve persevered.

Agriculture Presses On

While much of the country, and world for that matter, ground to a halt as a result of COVID 19, agriculture presses on. Farmers continue to quarantine themselves in their tractors and isolate themselves in fields. The one thing to
remember is that COVID 19 is not transmitted through the phone while sound advice can be. Technology provides us a mode of communication that delivers access to resources of expertise and inputs.

The Weight of Uncertainty

With all of the financial news being reported, a great deal of uncertainty exists. This can cause farmers to go in to survival mode and want to scale back input costs to a minimum. Emotionally charged decisions may override rational business decisions. AgroLiquid has personnel that ranks at the top of the industry when it comes to
making recommendations and matching fertilizer needs to expectations and economic conditions. While there won’t
be room for frivolous spending, a nitrogen only program—which I would consider a survival decision—won’t be the answer either. AgroLiquid aims to add value through guidance from trusted advisors. Someone who is a step removed from the weight of uncertainty can provide insights to help fight off the risk-averse tendencies that creep in with unanticipated risk. The AgroLiquid team can help in a couple of ways:
1) we have a culture of constant improvement to elevate our skills for times like this and
2) we want the farmer to be able to emerge from the uncertainty as an entity that will be on-going… surviving and producing profits for years to come.

As a result, it is in our best interest to make fertilizer recommendations that are in the grower’s best interest. We are
used to balancing the expense of crop nutrition with expected revenue, which accounts for current risk.

Evaluating Risk

In times like this, normal risk-takers can turn very conservative. And it is a sound practice to evaluate levels of risk. But as unexpected as this virus and all of the negativity has been, there are often surprise glimmers of opportunity. I’m sure the toilet paper industry never forecasted the demand they are experiencing! Many businesses have been affected. Virtually every aspect of the economy that generates tax revenue for local governments are going to take a serious hit. We’ve seen the Fed set a target Fed Funds rate of 0% in order to make risk-taking less costly. The potential exists for us to see significant spend packages to jump start the economy once the impact of the virus has subsided. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some quantitative easing as we did after the housing bubble burst, which is just the Fed buying back longer term securities to hold on their balance sheet and replaces those securities with cash in the economy to be spent. These actions could devalue the dollar, which then can prop up commodity prices and
make our agricultural products more affordable for countries like China. If indeed we see a bump in prices, it will likely be delayed; in other words we’ll have to wait and deal with added uncertainty in the interim. But if a producer faced with difficult decisions cuts too many corners, and then commodities rally to better levels, there won’t be the optimum production to capitalize on the opportunity.

The Path Forward

You’ve heard it before, but we are in unprecedented territory. While quantitative easing could help lower the value of the dollar, currency is still comparative. This means if other currencies don’t come up compared to the USD, then there won’t be much of a benefit. Also, demand will matter and it is difficult (impossible) to know what the consequences of most of the world hiding in their houses will do to demand for commodity products, even once recovery starts. A case can be made for a rally at some point in the future, but it’s hard to predict to what levels we could expect if it does. However, a scenario does exist that a rally could occur that is hard to imagine today. Rational thinking that can weigh the potential for an upside can be an offsetting entry for the brain to balance the thoughts that it will be a long free fall; it might not be.

Your AgroLiquid Team

Agriculture is generally counter-cyclical to the rest of the economy. Agriculture often benefits from the government
spending our way out of a recession. So, as you manage through this season, make sure that the irrational behavior
that is occurring around you doesn’t lead to a bunch of ill-advised decisions. More surprises may be lurking, but we
will emerge. Outside guidance on crop nutrition from the AgroLiquid team can help buffer emotions as the growing
season is thrust upon us. AgroLiquid can add value that extends beyond the nutrients we manufacture. Incorporate outside opinions from a variety of experts to make rational, business decisions in an environment that is loaded with emotion.

Get More With Less

Almond trial shows using less fertilizer compared to conventional treatments achieves equal to better results

Understanding Soil Quality

Almond acres have been steadily growing in California since the 1980s, and the crop is now California’s number one exported agricultural commodity. With over 2.4 million acres of trees planted, California grows over 85% of the world’s almonds. Virtually all commercially harvested almonds produced in the U.S. come from California. Most of that is due to the climate: warm, dry summers and cool, rainy winters are key to setting the tree up for success. But we know it takes more than a temperate climate to maximize a crop’s potential. AgroLiquid crop nutrition can be a
valuable tool in producing an abundant and quality almond crop. In an effort to determine the best sources, rates, timings and methods of application for this important crop, for the past two years, AgroLiquid has invested in
and run a full-scale research trial in almonds in California.

AgroLiquid has long believed in proving our technology through rigorous research and field testing. In western soils, we are looking at our technology performance compared to conventional fertilizer sources. Almonds are the perfect crop to test our Flavonol Polymer Technology, given how much potassium is needed to produce a crop. AgroLiquid’s
proprietary technology allows us to chelate/encapsulate nutrients within the sweet spot – not too loose, but not too tight. Our two year almond research trial has been conducted by Barat Basabri of Basabri Ag Research in
Newman, CA.

Trial details:
Each plot consists of five trees and was replicated six times across the orchard. Throughout the growing season, 50 gallons per acre (ga/A) of UAN-32 is applied as a constant in every plot.

Plot 1 (Conventional grower standard):
• 10-34-0 applied at 37.5 ga/A
• KTS applied at 40 ga/A
• EDTA Zinc (Zn) applied four times during the season for a total of 2 ga/A

Plot 2:
• Actagro’s Structure® applied at a rate of 25 ga/A
• KTS applied at 40 ga/A
• EDTA Zinc (Zn) applied four times during the season for a total of 2 ga/A

Plot 3:
• AgroLiquid’s PrG™ applied at 15 ga/A
• KTS applied at 40 ga/A
• EDTA Zinc (Zn) applied four times during the season for a total of 2 ga/A

Plot 4:
• AgroLiquid’s PrG applied at 15 ga/A
• AgroLiquid’s Kalibrate™ at a rate of 13.2 ga/A
• EDTA Zinc (Zn) applied four times during the season for a total of 2 ga/A

The results of the two-year averages are as follows. Plot 1: The “Grower Standard” of 10-34-0 + KTS yielded an average of 2,616 lbs. per acre. The second plot where Structure® was used in place of 10-34-0 + KTS, yielded a two-year average of 2,825 lbs./acre. The third plot was AgroLiquid’s PrG + KTS which yielded an average of 2,840 lbs./acre. The final plot was a full AgroLiquid program using both PrG + Kalibrate which yielded a two-year average of 2,829 lbs./acre. Yield results in the last three plots were comparable. For complete details on the almond trial please refer to the AgroLiquid website: research.agroliquid.com where all of our research data can be found dating back to 1983.