With fertilizer prices hitting record highs this month, it’s not surprising that was a major topic of discussion last week at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting annual Trade Talk.
Helena Agri-Enterprises had a message to take home to farmers that the solution to high fertilizer prices lies beneath the surface. Since soil health is one of the main factors influencing fertilizer efficiency, making it a priority will help farmers with fertilizer efficiency.
“Any time you make a financial investment, you’re looking for quality and a positive return,” says Mike Powell, Senior Brand Manager of Helena’s BioScience Portfolio. “It’s the same when you buy fertilizer. The difference is, for fertilizer to work, it has to get to the crop, and there are a variety of soil quality issues that can get in the way of that.”
Powell says now’s the time to solve that problem. He recommends blending a high-quality humic granule with dry fertilizer, and with good reason. Past research in corn showed Helena’s humic ore source combined with urea increased productivity even with a 15% reduction in nitrogen. While Helena encourages farmers to use optimal fertilizer rates, this creates options for those tightening their budgets. Its ability to provide greater benefits from early-season nutrition also helps farmers tailor fertility programs throughout the season.
Derek Emerine, Helena’s National Agronomist, credits this gain in efficiency to the high concentration of humic acids in Helena’s exclusive ore source. He says it takes more than just an increase in soil nutrient availability to boost growth and yield potential. “In a typical dry fertilizer application, not all of the nutrients that go out are going to make it into the plant on their own,” says Emerine. “Our plants can’t absorb them, they get tied up in the soil or they’re lost to leaching. By delivering the right humic compounds to the soil, we not only protect fertilizer and hold it in the root zone longer, but we also deliver vital elements to help plants take up more nutrients.”
Emerine is hopeful the renewed focus on soil health will continue far beyond this critical moment to improve efficiency for years to come. Through routine soil testing, farmers can identify deficiencies in the field and target the true needs of their crop. For additional information and fertility recommendations, farmers can visit helenaagri.com to learn more and to find their local Helena retailer.