News

New TFI study shows fewer nutrients used
Source: The Fertilizer Institute | June 1, 2011


The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) announced that between 1980 and 2010, U.S. farmers nearly doubled corn production using slightly fewer fertilizer nutrients than were used in 1980. The announcement is based on fertilizer application rate data released last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Specifically, in 1980, farmers grew 6.64 billion bushels of corn using 3.9 pounds of nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) for each bushel and in 2010 they grew 12.45 billion bushels using 1.6 pounds of nutrients per bushel produced. In total, this represents an 87.5 percent increase in production with 4 percent fewer nutrients during that same timeframe. Corn production accounts for half of U.S. fertilizer use and experts estimate that 40 to 60 percent of world food production is attributable to fertilizers.

“Through improvements in modern technology and old fashioned ingenuity, our farmers are using fertilizer with the greatest efficiency in history and have again shown why U.S. agriculture will continue to feed the world,” said TFI President Ford West. “Fertilizer nutrients are essential components in food, feed, fiber and fuel production and we anticipate that maximizing production from future new seed varieties will require a diet that can only be met through the use of commercially produced fertilizers.”

This achievement shown in the USDA data is notable for its environmental, economic and social benefits. Each additional bushel of corn produced through these efficiencies can in turn produce either 6 pounds of beef, 13 pounds of pork, 20 pounds of chicken, or 28 pounds of fish for dinner plates in the United States and around the world.

Increasingly, U.S. farmers’ fertilizer use has been under intense scrutiny for its potential impact on treasured water bodies such as the Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The USDA data demonstrates that farmers are caring for the nation’s water resources in large part through voluntary efforts.

“Efficient food production and protection of the environment are not mutually exclusive goals,” said West. “Farmers across the country including in the watersheds that drain to the Chesapeake Bay and the Mississippi River can be proud that their adoption of site specific nutrient management and their use of higher yielding varieties of corn are making a substantial and even massive contributions to the effort to reduce nutrient losses to waters across the nation.”

“While our critics’ voices are often louder than our advocates — the numbers don’t lie — this new data shows yet one more reason that agriculture is a leader in environmental stewardship. We think this is a triumph of the role science and economics in sustainable farming and expect that through the more widespread adoption of 4R nutrient stewardship, (use of the right fertilizer source at the right rate, right time and right place) farmers and the fertilizer industry will continue to help feed a growing world population.”



Cotton Nutrition and Fertilization Source: International Plant Nutrition Institute
Mar. 14, 2011

Cotton has made quite a comeback over the past few months with steep, and at times extreme, price increases in 2010. Prices are expected to remain relatively strong through 2011 as stocks should be tight. As a result, cotton acres may increase in some regions this year. A major factor affecting both cotton yield and quality is the availability of adequate and balanced nutrition. Given the optimism, now is a good time to review some cotton fertility basics.

Nitrogen is essential for the development of shoots, buds, leaves, roots, and bolls. Cotton takes up about 60 lb of N for each 480-lb bale produced, though it should be noted that N uptake figures can vary. Uptake is limited early in the season prior to squaring, and the majority of N is taken up after fi rst bloom. Therefore, split applications of N improve the chances of meeting the crop needs during peak demand periods. A general recommendation is to provide about 10 percent to 20 percent of the crop N needs before bloom, and apply the remainder during the boll development period. Texas Tech University research has shown that on the Texas South Plains about 5 lb of N would be required per inch of water consumed. Since cotton is an indeterminate perennial, too much N late in the season may cause excessive vegetative growth and should be avoided. Soil and petiole tests can be helpful in determining preplant and midseason N management.

Phosphorus is important in early root development, photosynthesis, cell division, energy transfer, early boll development, and hastening of maturity. About 25 to 30 lb of P2O5 is taken up per bale of cotton produced. Placement of P fertilizer is not as important as in the production of some other crops. However, banding P can be advantageous in some situations (e.g., reduced or no-till, compacted soil conditions). Insufficient P results in dwarfed plants, delayed fruiting and maturity, and reduced yield. Use soil tests to determine optimum P application rate.

Potassium is an especially important nutrient in cotton production. It reduces the incidence and severity of wilt diseases, increases water use efficiency, and affects fi ber properties like micronaire, length, and strength. It is important in maintaining sufficient water pressure within the boll for fiber elongation. Cotton utilizes about 60 lb of K2O per bale. The need for K increases dramatically during early boll set, and about 70 percent of uptake occurs after first bloom. Potassium deficiency may be expressed as a full season deficiency, or it may not appear until late season since this is the period of greatest demand. A shortage of K reduces fiber quality and results in plants that are more susceptible to drought stress and diseases. Preplant applications of K fertilizer, and in some cases mid-season foliar applications, are effective in correcting deficiencies. Soil testing is the first step in predicting K needs.

Secondary elements and micronutrients may also be critical to profitable cotton production. For example, cotton responds to trace elements such as zinc and boron where these nutrients are deficient. Soil tests, plant analyses, field history, and experience should be considered when establishing the need for these elements.

Good nutrient management results in higher cotton yields, improved fiber quality, greater water and nutrient use efficiency. So, in this year of optimism make sure that fertility doesn't limit cotton production.

Bill Would Limit Nitrogen and Phosphorus Content of Fertilizers (Irrigation and Green Industry)
The Maryland General Assembly is considering passing legislation which would limit the nitrogen and phosphorus content of fertilizers.
The wide-ranging bill was developed by the Chesapeake Bay Commission, which is made up of lawmakers from Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Their main objective, officials say, is to cut down on over-application of fertilizer on residential lawns, golf courses and other areas, to prevent harmful nutrients from flowing into creeks, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay

Among other provisions, the bill would limit the amount of nitrogen in fertilizer that's sold at retail stores, and require a certain percent of nitrogen to be in a slow-release form. It would also ban phosphorus in fertilizer that's sold at retail stores, except for blends used on new grass or if a soil test indicates a need for phosphorus, and limit when and how companies can apply fertilizer on residential lawns.

Vendor Relations and Purchasing - (from RBC Bank)
Judging by the strong online presence of feed and farming equipment stores, today's growers don't mind leaving the field from time to time to do a little bargain hunting on the Internet. In an industry where so many rely on their hands to tackle the daily workload, a few taps of a keyboard seems almost minuscule in comparison - a well-deserved break so to speak. Still, a growing number of agriculturalists depend on their computers to keep relations strong between them and their vendors. In turn, suppliers continue to experience first hand the usefulness of a Web site when it comes to harvesting a new cash crop of customers.

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Events

 

  • FFAA Annual Meeting July 11 - 15, 2011 Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort, Naples Florida
     
  • Southwest Fertilizer Conference San Antonio, TX, July 16-22 www.swfertilizer.org
  • 24th Annual SFGCSA Expo/Field Day  March 24  7:30 am-3:00 pm   Fort Lauderdale Res. & Ed. Center  More Info: 954-577-6334
  • 2011 FSGC Field Day   April 28-29  Duda's Cocoa Ranch - Viera, FL  www.floridasodgrowers.com
  • Gainesville/Citra Turfgrass Field Day   May 19  http://turf.ufl.edu/calendar.shtml
  • Gulf Coast Turfgrass Expo/Field Day  June 16  WFREC Res. & Ed. Center  http://turf.ufl.edu/calendar.shtml
  • 59th Annual Conference & Show  September 14-16   PGA National Resort and Spa
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