The Phosphate Advantage

Phosphorus (P) is considered a primary crop nutrient, along with nitrogen and potassium. Phosphorus is involved in photosynthesis, respiration, energy storage and transfer and many other processes in the plant. Phosphorus improves the quality of fruit, vegetable, and grain crops, and is vital to seed formation. Phosphorus uptake is a continuous process during the active growth period of plants. Phosphorus is absorbed by plants throughout the growing season, with much of the plant’s phosphorus need occurring during periods of fast vegetative growth and fruit production.  Since phosphorus is needed at all stages of plant growth it is imperative that the nutrient be in a plant available form throughout the growing season.

Most phosphate fertilizers combine, or complex, with other minerals in the soil to create compounds that are not usable to plants. This can happen in as little as 4 to 8 days. Pro-Germinator™ contains both orthophosphate, which is immediately available to the plant, and long-chain polyphosphates that are protected by flavonol chelation technology resulting in season long phosphorus availability.

The combination of ortho- and polyphosphates, along with its flavonol chelation technology allows Pro-Germinator™ to provide more nutritional performance per gallon than conventional fertilizers.  That results in having excellent crop nutrition at lower application rates than other phosphate products.  When applied at recommended rates, Pro-Germinator™ is cost effective, on a per acre basis.  Pro-Germinator™ should be the backbone of all crop fertility programs, potentially providing the greatest return on phosphorus investment.

An experiment was conducted at the AgroLiquid North Central Research Station to determine phosphate availability of Pro-Germinator™ compared to other liquid phosphate fertilizers. Pro-Germinator™, 9-18-9 orthophosphate, and 10-34-0 ammonium polyphosphate were applied at 20 lb P2O5 per acre. Plant usable phosphorus in soil solution was measured at various times throughout the growing season.


AgroLiquid on Rural America LIVE

AgroLiquid’s goal is to prosper the farmer while safeguarding the environment. Learn how they are different from any other fertilizer company in the industry today as experts discuss details about their line of high-performance fertilizers formulated with scientifically based recommendations to help growers achieve the best possible production yields while employing sustainable agricultural practices.

Fertilizer Program Sustainability in Corn 2011-2015

Senior Research Manager, Dr. Jerry Wilhm discusses how and why the lower applied rates of AgroLiquid nutrients are sustainable and more efficient in feeding the plant the nutrients it needs to thrive. In this short video, Dr. Wilhm further demonstrates this through a four-year sustainability study from the North Central Research Station (NCRS).

Download a pdf version of Fertilizer Sustainability in Corn

Research Field Days 2015

NCRS Harvest Re-Cap

In the newest, installment of video from the North Central Research Station, Dr. Jerry Wilhm provides a comprehensive harvest re-cap, giving a glimpse into the harvest process that make AgroLiquid plot work possible.

Dr. Brian Levene also makes an appearance. Brian addresses grower questions from George McDonald of Catesa Farms in Riddleton, TN. Catesa Farms is a producer of high quality plasticulture strawberries and George is looking for the best step-by-step fertility program to bring sweet, firm berries with a good shelf life to market.

LIVE FROM THE NCRS: More Harvesting

Plot harvest at the NCRS has been a challenge this year.  Wet weather has kept the harvest crews out of the field for extended times.  But the field crop crew has been putting in long days through the weekend.  I went out last Thursday to see what was going on.  Over on Farm 5,  Phil unloads soybeans from a plot into the scaled grain cart.

Stephanie watches the weight numbers roll up.

 Then she punches the weight into the mounted iPad.  It is linked to the computer in the NCRS office and records the number in the program, so that when the harvest for the test is complete, the data is already summarized.  That is something new this year that will make data summary much easier. Good thing since there are over 1800 individual field crop plots set for harvest in 2014.  (By the way, that’s MSU intern Kalvin driving the tractor.  Although I guess his internship is over, so now he is just a regular NCRS researcher.  We are very fortunate that Kalvin was willing to continue working this fall around his busy MSU class schedule.)

Over on the Specialty Crop Crew, Jake and Brian have borrowed a grape press from Kalvin, and go to work making juice from the Concord Grape plot harvest.  I tried it.  It’s good!

Over on Farm 7 there was a sugarbeet experiment being harvested.  Recall that we have six-row plots, but harvest the middle four rows.  Here is what they look like after the topper has removed the…tops.  Why else would it be called a topper?

Now the beet lifter lifts the beets out of the ground.  Why else would it be called a lifter?  The beets are dumped into the tank and there is a scale and monitor that reads the weight for that plot.  Still remarkable compared to the old ways and days when I actually worked there.  Yes it’s an old lifter, but it works just fine for these plots.  That’s Jeff at the helm of the tractor there.  And Ron on the dump trailer tractor in the back.

Determining the plot weight is just the first step with sugarbeet harvest.  Beets need to be graded for per cent sucrose plus several other quality measurements.  This is how the payment to growers is determined, and these can be affected by fertilizer inputs.  So plot samples need to be collected.  Here Tim collects some beets from the back door installed on the lifter tank.  These will be taken to the Michigan Sugar Company lab for evaluation.  The beets are then unloaded into the trailer there and then dumped in a row along the road for collection to be taken to a sugarbeet piling ground for transport to the sugar company plant.  Tim also punches the weights into the iPad here too.

After all of that, the lifter moves on to the next plot.

Round and round they go.  That’s the way all of the field plots are harvested here at the NCRS.  You are usually too busy to get dizzy though.

LIVE FROM THE NCRS: Weekend Warriors

So the rainy weather has gotten in the way of soybean harvest, but the past weekend provided some good days to get some harvesting and wheat planting completed.  Stephanie gave me these pictures to show how she spent her weekend.  This view of the combine cutting 30″ row beans shows that the border rows are cut first and then the middle four rows are harvested for yield determination.  We always remove border rows no mater the row spacing or crop being harvested.

 Round and round they go.  Here is Stephanie’s view from the scaled grain cart following Tim in the combine.  And who is that in the tractor?  Why it’s our dedicated CEO Troy.  He was glad for the opportunity to step in and help on the weekend.  He is often seen hiding in the bushes looking longingly at the operation of all the field equipment that he has bought for us.  So occasionally it is good to let him take the wheel.

 Impending sunset makes for a nice view of finishing up a test on Farm 5.

Sadly the rain has returned on Monday and Tuesday.  But it’s good for the wheat.  (Trying to look on the bright side of the gloomy day.)

Research Field Day Plots Give Hint of Best Corn Program for 2015

(Note: The Fall issue of the AgroLiquid Quarterly Newsletter just came out.  However there was an error in my article where for some reason the correct picture was not included in the article.  So my descriptions in the article are not clear for the pictures that were printed.  So here is the article in its original form for those that don’t know what I am talking about.  Which is a common occurrence, but this time I had an excuse.)

The recently completed Research Field Days showed AgroLiquid fertilizers in action.  Well maybe action is a little strong, but results of the use of AgroLiquid were clearly on display in many venues.  Take, for instance, one of the research plot stops on Farm 7.  Several different corn fertilizer applications were on display.  There were full rate conventional fertilizer programs for potash/10-34-0/28% plus an all dry treatment.  There was the comparable AgroLiquid treatment along with a treatment with conventional fertilizers, but at a greatly reduced rate of application to closely match that of the AgroLiquid program.  And then there was a nitrogen only treatment, so that the effects of the P and K fertilizers could be measured.  The same treatments were applied last year in this experiment as well, but in the adjacent test to enable a corn-soybean rotation.  On the field day itself, I went into the border rows for these treatments and pulled three adjacent ears as well as some roots that were dug.  They are on display in the picture, along with the yields from 2013 and then the pounds of N-P2O5-K2O for each treatment.  (Note: in the conventional treatments, two years worth of potash is applied after the previous soybean crop for the next year of corn and then the following soybean crop.)


 There is certainly a visual difference in the ears. The full rate conventional and AgroLiquid ears are all larger than those of the N only treatment (4).  Furthermore, the ears of the AgroLiquid treatment (5) are also much larger than the low rate conventional treatment (1), even though virtually the same rates of fertility was applied.  So I guess the adage: It’s nutrients, not numbers rings true here.  The nutrient technology used to make AgroLiquid more efficient is clearly seen.  The roots also showed the Liquid advantage for a larger root system to better explore the soil.  Furthermore, the yield in 2013 with AgroLiquid was greater with AgroLiquid vs all programs, but especially vs the equal rate of conventional.  So let advanced nutrient technology be your guide in 2015.  Higher yields with lower rates (more acres planted between fill-ups) and planter applied P and K to save trips.  Of course the plot harvest coming up later will complete the story.  But indications are strong for AgroLiquid.  So when making decisions for next year, don’t cut what is research-proven for higher yield.


Top Crops in Nebraska

So last week I went on a Fertilizer Mission to see some of our contract research plots in Nebraska. These were out in the central part of the state. It was a nice week. Here we see researcher Josh with SAM Brad looking at the soybean plots. Among other things, we are testing in-furrow fertilizer rates and treatments on 30″ row soybeans. Always a crowd pleaser.


We also have a couple of corn tests: one with nitrogen and one with planter fertilizers. We had very good results with the nitrogen test last year. It’s in the Research Report. As you can see, this corn is furrow irrigated and should produce high yields. You may be able to tell that this corn had been hailed on recently. That is a common occurrence out here. But it did not do any damage.


There are a lot of corn tests here as Josh and Brad go down the line.


And it looks like this corn is at early black layer. This is 110 day corn planted on April 19.


The next day we met up with Area Manager Randy Timms near Adams. Here he is showing me some of his soybeans that received an application of ferti-Rain this summer. Look at the cluster of pods at the top of the plant. That’s what we like to see, and ferti-Rain makes sure it has the nutrition it needs to do this.

Randy Tim 1

Here was another field that got ferti-Rain earlier in the season. There was frost recently and many fields had crispy upper leaves. But it did not go down any lower to hurt the plant. The beans in the developing pods are still greenish yellow. So hold off with anymore frost, OK?


Here is some of Randy’s dryland corn. They only plant around 20,000 seeds per acre for dryland here. Because it can really be dry in most years. But this year there was decent rain as can be seen by these full ears. Certainly helped by Pro-Germinator + Sure-K + Micro 500.


Later that day we drove over to Deschler. This is where Brad lives, and is also the home of Reinke Irrigation . Here is a sign for what is the first irrigation system that they built back in 1968. Center Pivot #1 and Still Going Strong!


Here is the company. Big operation in such a small town, population 747.


This must be their show room.


And the reason I was interested in this is because we run two Reinke systems at the NCRS. They have been Going Strong for us for over 14 years. Like here on Farm 5.


And on Farm 3. Very reliable for us.


Later that day we went to Rustin for a customer appreciation dinner put on by C and M Supply. They are also Area Managers for AgroLiquid. This is one of my favorite work functions, as there was steak, shrimp, potatoes and lots of other fixings. So I appreciated their customer appreciation. This is the town that Brad grew up in. Unfortunately, the school has closed and the kids are now bused to nearby Deshler. But I asked Brad if he played basketball in this gym and he said that he did. Which kind of started a chain reaction of the people around recalling their playing days in this old gym. One woman remembered playing volleyball there back in the ’50’s. She wins. But that’s a cool thing about rural America.


Hope I can make back next year.

2014 AgroLiquid Field Days Success


On the heels of twenty years in operation, the largest plant nutrition research farm in the country welcomed growers and ag retailers to its annual field days late last month. The North Central Research Station, located just north of St. Johns, Mich., boasts more than 750 tillable acres of crop research in crops ranging widely from corn and soybeans to apples and zucchini.


During staggered tours, each spanning nearly five hours, attendees rotated through classroom-style sessions at AgroLiquid headquarters, demo farm stops and field tours through corn, soybean, sugar beet and intensive apple orchard production sites. Results from both AgroLiquid and conventional treatment plans were on display throughout the tour. At demo farm stops attendees were encouraged to walk rows, pull up plants and even taste produce — watermelons, specifically — produced with AgroLiquid’s enhanced efficiency liquid fertilizers.


One of the newest additions to the North Central Research Station, an intensive orchard planted in high-density with apple trees and headed up by Senior Horticulture Research Manager Dr. Brian Levene captured the interest of most attendees and spurred many questions. With more than 1,000 trees expected to be in production next year, returning attendees will no doubt be interested to see the results at 2015 Field Day events.


In addition to the research results and demonstrations presented, sponsoring exhibitors such as AgXcel, John Deere Credit, No-Till Farmer Magazine, Greenstone Farm Credit Services, Enduraplas and others were on hand in the AgroLiquid HQ concourse, giving attendees plenty of chances for networking and exploring new options for improving their production practices in 2015. Boxed lunches, snacks and AgroLiquid CEO Troy Bancroft’s homemade ice cream were on offer during and after tours, keeping attendees happy and well-fed throughout.


Attendees were also welcome to take a tour of AgroLiquid’s new IQhub. Slated for its grand opening September 12, 2014 at 2:00 pm, the IQhub is a 9,500 square-foot home to agricultural history, innovation and exploration. Housing 23 museum-quality exhibits, each exploring agriculture from the time of the pilgrims in America through the present day, the IQhub promises fun for both the young and young-at-heart.

If you missed the 2014 field day events, be sure to sign up for the AgroLiquid newsletter to be notified of upcoming events before next year.