Ag retailers are responsible for helping their growers achieve the best quality and highest yield possible. Of course, this is no easy task – but it becomes much easier if growers use the best fertilizer management options on the market.
As an ag retailer, you understand that the right fertilization management program can improve crop productivity and yield, all without sacrificing soil health. Therefore, you’ve probably spent more than a few hours researching the new technology and products that come to the market, making sure you can recommend them when the need arises.
But all the research in the world won’t help you if you don’t understand WHY fertilization management matters. Today, let’s discuss how nutrient management can make or break a grower’s crops.
The Benefits of Nutrient Management
Nutrient management helps to create optimal soil conditions for a farmer’s crops. When the soil is healthy and nutrient-rich – in other words, full of nitrogen (N), potassium (K), and phosphorus (P) — it provides the perfect growing conditions for crops. These nutrients do occur naturally in soil, but they aren’t always present in high enough levels to support crop growth. But luckily, growers can increase or decrease soil nutrient levels to suit a specific crop’s needs.
Growers can use fertilization management plans to tailor the soil for their crops, providing the balance needed to even out the soil’s nutrient loss. A thorough nutrient management plan may include:
- Soil sampling
- Manure sampling
- The assessment of nutrient contributions made from legume-type crops
- Evaluation of past or present management practices
- Deciding which fertilizers and application techniques to use for optimal productivity
- Being realistic with yield goals
The Importance of Planning Fertilizer Activities
Without a fertilization plan, farmers run the risk of causing harm to the environment. They can even cause unnecessary damage to the crops if they use the techniques without the proper knowledge. As an ag retailer, you must be sure that your growers understand the basics of fertilizer application and that they have an effective nutrient management plan in place. If you don’t, it can lead to:
- Contamination in water
- Death of aquatic animals and plants due to imbalances in the water
What the Soil Needs
The first place to start with the soil is tilling. However, tilling alone is not enough to guarantee that your farmer’s soil is ready for maximum yield. That is where fertilization comes in, providing the soil with the right balance for planting.
How can a farmer know what nutrients are needed? A soil sample can tell you which nutrients are lacking in the field – or, in some cases, which nutrients are overabundant. It’s critical to understand these measurements; if the soil lacks a particular nutrient, the farmer will need specific fertilizer to enrich it. If there is too much of a nutrient, the farmer will have to take measures to prevent runoff.
What the Plan Needs
Once an ag retailer understands the type of soil a grower is working with, they can advise the grower on products or tech to assist in their fertilization management plan. The fertilization plan will dictate when a farmer should apply fertilizer to an area and the amounts each zone needs. Technology has become an excellent resource when it comes to fertilizer application. By managing their fertilization application, they have more control over productivity, crop nutrients, and reducing the amount of contamination.
Using Fertilization Technology to Increase Productivity
As a retailer, you probably want to ensure continued success for your grower clients. You want to increase the farmer’s yield and productivity – and you want to keep improving things year after year. The best way to ensure repeat success is to track and analyze data about the crops and fertilizers farmers use.
Technology is making anything possible in the agriculture world, including data collection, simulations, and plan creation for fertilization and other farming business. Best of all, many of these programs run online, allowing you and your growers to collaborate from anywhere! Farmers can’t bring the farm to you, but you can provide them with the technology they need to increase productivity.
Why You Need Fertilization Management to Improve Crop Productivity
Working with crops is not like growing a backyard garden or having an indoor plant. Agriculture on a large scale requires more tools, more fertilizer, and (most importantly) more strategy. You can’t just “water and hope for the best” when you’re growing crops on several hundred acres!
Ag retailers can help growers boost their productivity and maximize their crops with great products. They can also help farmers by giving them the advice and technology necessary to make a nutrient management plan. By working with your clients to create a plan, you can accommodate growers’ unique circumstances and help them improve their fertilization management.
If you are looking to make lasting relationships with your growers (and earn some long-term business), you need to help increase how you help growers improve their crop productivity. And if you invest in the tech and knowledge necessary to craft an excellent fertilization management plan, you’ll see improvements for both your growers and your business. When you invest as an ag retailer, the grower will invest in you. You gain their business, and they achieve improved crop productivity.