Spring Fertilizer Opportunities
Questions and uncertainties remain in the fertilizer industry as we approach the spring fertilizer application season.
First, let’s go back and review the 2018 harvest. Early on, it appeared the fall season would be started on time and applications of nutrients would be strong after experiencing another high yielding crop throughout the corn-belt. As it turned out, mother-nature had other ideas. Growers struggled to get the last of the 2018 harvest out of the field, let alone get fall fieldwork or fertility applications made. Across the Midwest, we saw potash and phosphate applications off by roughly 20-30% and fall applied anhydrous ammonia off by almost 70%.
Fast forward to late February and a large part of the corn-belt, along with most of the U.S. is experiencing cool, wet weather. We see flooding in the west and in and around the lower Mississippi river system.
If there is ever a year where logistics could play a major role in supply, this may be the year. Plenty of moisture everywhere, high water, flooding, extreme cold weather, and plenty of snow to melt, which will only add to already additional flooding concerns along the river systems. Add these challenges to the extremely short anhydrous ammonia season this fall and the possibility of additional corn acres. Also, figure that the last 10-20% of in-season needs are distributed by trucks, making the short truck market a key component as well.
While each of these factors are present, there are opportunities and solutions for fields to still receive the nutrients they need. Helena suggests having an alternate plan in place to combat the potential for supply and logistical challenges this spring, especially when it comes to Nitrogen.
Split applications of Nitrogen could be a good solution to consider this year. Using a Helena product such as Coron® is a good way to get an in-season controlled release nitrogen application onto your crops. Another opportunity to consider is utilizing an ASK® fertilizer blend which provides powerful yield enhancing nutrient blends to the crop. Talk with your local Helena representative to discuss your spring fertilizer plan.
- Scott Dettmann, Helena Fertilizer Manager