Get Ready, Get Set For Spring Fertilizer Applications


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Get Ready, Get Set for Spring Fertilizer Applications

With spring fertilizer applications just around the corner, now is the time to make sure you have everything in order before it’s go-time. To help retailers prepare for this busy season, AdvanSix Plant Nutrients Sales Manager Jason Magan shares a few reminders about how you can prepare now to make spring fertilizer applications go as smoothly as possible.

Wrap Up Equipment Maintenance

“Retailers should be finalizing their preparations for spring pre-plant applications right now,” Magan said. “They need to be finishing up maintenance on their application equipment from their tender trucks to their spreader trucks and making sure everything’s ready to go.”

Properly functioning application equipment helps ensure that retailers and their grower-customers get the most out of every fertilizer dollar. If you haven’t done so already, there is still time to address equipment maintenance and repairs in the weeks before spring fertilizer applications. Proactively dealing with potential problems can help prevent costly in-season breakdowns.

Review Soil Sample Results

“You can only manage what you measure. If you haven’t done so already, I suggest sitting down with your growers to review their soil samples pulled since harvest,” Magan said. “Then analyze those results and make plans based on that analysis.”

Magan recommends looking at what nutrients are in the soil, as well as the expected nutrient withdrawals from the crop in the upcoming season and making plans from there.

“Knowing what we are starting with can really help us understand how to get ready” Magan said.

Help Your Growers Make a Plan

Based on soil sample results, retailers can help their growers create crop nutrition plans that specifically address the “limiting” nutrients by including the right fertilizers. For the upcoming season, Magan recommends prioritizing yield when deciding the fertilizer inputs to include.

“I recommend focusing on yield first, cost second,” Magan said. “Even though many farmers would tend to look at cost first, yield needs to take priority. AMS presents, in many ways, the best of both worlds, and is a cost-efficient option for helping growers achieve their yield goals.”

Magan specifically advises against cutting back on fertilizer, even under the current market conditions.

“This first thing that growers want to cut is fertilizer,” Magan said. “But, when you look at the ROI of fertilizer on your crop, there is a high probability that proper fertilizer application gives growers the best ROI in all cases. It is very important to avoid the trap of trying to save dollars by cutting nickels. Because, when it comes to crops, cutting nickels of fertilizers will end up costing dollars in yields in most cases.”

Avoid Just-In-Time Buying

“Many retailers are currently waiting for farmers to buy first before they take up buying inputs,” Magan said. “We call this ‘just-in-time’ buying, which can become a logistical nightmare as it makes it particularly hard for the seller to supply the right amount of fertilizers needed.”

To reduce the headaches caused by just-in-time buying, retailers should underscore the importance of having a plan in place now rather than waiting until planting time. Helping growers get a head start on planning ultimately helps retailers ensure key inputs are available and at hand come application time.

Stick to the Plan

Though the unpredictable spring weather can always cause some unexpected challenges, such as delayed planting, Magan encourages retailers and their growers to stick to the plan they have in place.

“If weather delays planting, it doesn’t mean that the farmers should give up their plans and start planting,” Magan said. “In fact, it is especially important to enact the previously carefully-prepared plans. It’s critical that the fields are still fertilized fully with the all the right nutrition inputs so as to get to the ultimate crop. The plan should still be applied, even if the application dates are adjusted.”

Overall, Magan emphasizes that planning is one of the most important tasks ahead of the growing season. “Failure to plan is akin to planning to fail,” he said. “You need to have a plan and stick with it.”

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