higher yields

How to Get the Best Pricing for 2024 Crop Inputs

 

The saying “the early bird gets the worm” is applicable to more than robins and blue jays. In fact, when it comes to crop protection inputs, if you’re not early you may not get a worm at all.

As we gear up for our 2024 pre-pay season, we’d like to offer some key insights that we foresee in next year’s supply inventory and help you prepare to take advantage of the best time to purchase your inputs.

What’s new?

The supply chain for crop protection products took a major hit following the pandemic in 2020. Those issues lingered into 2021 and 2022, tightening available inventory and creating challenges for delivering secured product. Thankfully, 2023 held a better outcome and 2024 looks to continue on the upward trajectory for more products.

Let’s look at the forecast for product inventory:

    • Glyphosate products like RoundUp are in great supply. This product has rebounded since 2020 and is even experiencing up to a 40% price reduction on certain products. Contact your Liqui-Grow sales representative to learn which products have the best prices.
    • Post-emergence grass killers for corn and soybeans have a good supply and have seen a price reduction. These will be a great addition for growers trying to control volunteer corn in soybean fields. .
    • For the first time since 2020, fungicides will be in good supply from Liqui-Grow. However, most of the inventory will be booked by February 15th as growers see the value in these products for overall plant health. We will be offering a significant discount during pre-pay season and encourage growers to place their order early to guarantee product availability.
  • Pre-emergence products for soybeans will have some product changes and we encourage you to ask your local Liqui-Grow sales representative what new products are best for your operation.

Pricing will likely still play a role in product selection this year, but the trends are looking favorable for growers, if you make your purchases during the pre-pay window.

Planning Ahead Pays

Each year, we encourage growers to consider new ways to increase yield and reduce input cost. The best way to accomplish that is by taking advantage of the best pricing window of the year. 

At Liqui-Grow, we devote time to researching and securing the best products on the market to give our customers ample choices for their operation. In fact, that makes us different from most ag retailers. We don’t come to your farm with a preferred list of products - we provide the products that you ask for to meet your goals. 

This personalized mindset is also the driving force behind our service lineup. Whether you want herbicides and fungicides custom applied on your operation or just need the products packaged and ready for pickup, we can support your crop protection needs. 

We also offer “hot loads” for growers who use their own application equipment but need chemicals mixed at a moment’s notice. When you’re ready to load, give us a call and the mixture will be ready when you arrive!

But the bottom line when it comes to having a successful customer experience at Liqui-Grow is to take advantage of this pre-pay season to book the best products at the best price. 

Buying now is truly the only guaranteed way to secure your product for next year. Plus, if the weather changes and you have to adjust your plan midway through the season, we’ll work with you to ensure you have the product you need for your crop.

Growers concerned about cashflow can also utilize Liqui-Grow financing options as long as you lock in your pricing by January 10th. Terms with all financing options have changed for the 2024 season, so consult your Liqui-Grow sales representative for the current rates and payment options. 

For more questions around product options, availability or pricing, text us at 564-220-2508 or email questions@liqui-grow.com.

What 2024 Tax Changes Could Mean for Your Operation

 

Running a profitable farming venture requires more than reducing input costs and increasing yields. In today’s economy, you also have to manage taxes, payroll and countless other financial variables that dictate your bottom line.

With December 31st knocking on our door, we want to provide our customers with some key insights regarding upcoming tax changes and how they could impact your operation. We met with Dustin Kimball, CPA, to discuss the most pressing issues around tax laws and financial planning for your operation.

In this visit, Dustin outlined changes related to:

  • Iowa State Tax Reductions
  • Section 179 & Bonus Depreciation
  • Estate Planning
  • Capital Equipment Purchases
  • Business Entities
  • And More!

 

Highlight Video (15 minutes)

 

Questions? Give us a shout! 

Text us at 564-220-2508 or email questions@liqui-grow.com.

A Researcher’s Reward: 2023 Research Plot Results

Our fall L.E.A.D. Academy webinar provided answers for a question on the top of many farmers’ minds this time of year—what worked well, and how can we improve for next season? Watch Dr. Jake’s overview of his 2023 research plot results here, or read on to learn more about his conclusions.

 

Fertilizer Distance Study

We launched our multi-location fertilizer distance study three years ago in preparation for the launch of ExactStrip application. Now, after testing more than 800 plots at 10 locations across three seasons, Dr. Jake is excited to share his findings.

ExactStrip shares RTK guidance lines from the floater to the farmer’s planter, tractor or strip till machine in order to plant as close as possible to the fertilizer bands. Much like a teenager being close to a refrigerator, the closer the plant’s roots are to the fertilizer, the more nutrients the plant will consume.

Dr. Jake tested ExactStrip fertilizer application against broadcast application and a check plot with no fertilizer applied. Each ExactStrip application included a 30” band of full-rate fertilizer, and distances tested ranged from 0” to 15”.

Traditional liquid fertilizer applications tend to occur between 6” and 9” of the planted row—a range that yielded a 2 to 3 bushels per acre increase over broadcast application and 12 to 14 bushels per acre more than the untreated plot in our study. 

With ExactStrip, we are able to place fertilizer within 3” of the row—providing a 5 to 8 bushels per acre yield advantage over broadcast application and 16 to 18 bushels per acre over untreated.

This yield increase proves the value of precision application for maximum crop performance. We are excited for Liqui-Grow customers to continue seeing these results on your own farms. 

If your farm equipment is up to date with RTK capabilities, reach out to your local Liqui-Grow sales representative and ask them about our distance study and ExactStrip technology.

 

Pairing ExactStrip with Strip-Till

Continuing with his ExactStrip research, Dr. Jake conducted a study comparing different approaches for applying fertilizer in strip-till operations. 

ExactStrip application following strip-till performed very well against traditional injected application, and Dr. Jake is optimistic about how these numbers will continue to improve as his research on pairing ExactStrip with various tillage practices moves forward. 

In-Furrow Additives on Corn

Dr. Jake has been studying biological and non-traditional products for corn for the past six years. Through this extensive research, two products stand out. 

 

Micro-AZ and AvailT5 show consistent yield improvements of more than 4 bushels per acre across the 20+ plots tested. Dr. Jake strongly recommends these products for an affordable and reliable yield boost in corn.

Micro-AZ In-Furrow Starter

Micro-AZ caught Dr. Jake’s attention because the formulation centered around azospirillum brasilense—a well-researched bacteria that causes significant increases in corn root hairs, which improves nutrient uptake and leads to consistent yield increases.

 

AvailT5 Additive

AvailT5 is a phosphorus enhancement product that is a valuable additive for any field, particularly ones with pH above 7 or below 5.5 and/or low phosphorus levels. 

Dr. Jake compiled 140 side by side comparisons across 8 sites, and the results show that AvailT5 is effective whether applied in–furrow or with fall suspension fertilizer. According to his research, AvailT5 yields an average return on investment of $13 per acre.

Next, Dr. Jake wanted to compare the impact of AvailT5 on various soil types. When you look at the locations with the ideal conditions for AvailT5 to make the biggest impact, you can see the average yield increase from 4 to 9 bushels per acre, bringing in a $38 per acre return on investment.

Using this knowledge, we’ve come up with an innovative solution to maximize the impact of your investment. By using grid samples to identify areas of the field with high/low pH and low phosphorus levels, we’re able to inject AvailT5 exactly where your fields need it, and skip the areas that don’t. 

This is an application method that can benefit any farmer. Talk to your local Liqui-Grow sales representative to take advantage of AvailT5.

New In-Furrow Additives

While we recognize and appreciate the reliability and consistency of Micro-AZ and AvailT5, we also embrace cutting-edge technology and new products on the market.

This year, Dr. Jake conducted studies involving Maneuver, Utrisha P and Fosters + Pmax. The initial results all show strong performance, but we have smaller amounts of data on these products. Dr. Jake is eager to continue studying their impact on crop yields and gathering more data to help farmers make informed decisions.

 

Foliar Non-Traditional Screening in Soybeans

Another new study for 2023 centered around foliar non-traditional screening in soybeans. The preliminary findings shine a spotlight on one key group of products: amino acid based.

Dr. Jake is confident in the ability of amino acids to provide a strong foundation for soybean additives, ultimately resulting in a high return on investment. This initial research backs this belief, and we will continue to share updates as the study continues.

Starter Fertilizer with Zinc

For his last research update, Dr. Jake shared insights from a study focused on the presence of zinc in starter fertilizers. This research revealed the shocking conclusion that applying starter fertilizer without zinc actually lowers crop yields.

This is because traditional phosphorus fertilizer ties up zinc in the soil, ultimately doing more harm than good for the plant. For a starter fertilizer to truly benefit your crop, it needs to be a well-balanced formulation.

From concluding long-term studies to just beginning new ones, this fall’s L.E.A.D. Academy webinar set the stage for another productive year of unveiling new agronomic insights in 2024.

Want to learn more about Dr. Jake’s research? Text us at 564-220-2508 or email questions@liqui-grow.com.

The Truth About Phosphorus for Crop Nutrition & Soil Health

 

The Importance of Phosphorus

Ever wonder why some fields are impacted by drought more than others?  It could be the result of low phosphorus levels in the soil.  

Phosphorus is a key contributor to plant and root development, along with nutrient uptake. From a technical standpoint, phosphorus is a fundamental element of a plant’s DNA and RNA structure, and a key component of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the primary energy currency for a plant. This means phosphorus is responsible for helping a plant grow, develop and maintain energy throughout its life cycle. 

As far as the drought conditions are concerned, when plants are already stressed and struggling to retain nutrients, it’s pretty obvious that low phosphorus levels in a field will have a negative impact on plant performance.

Signs of Phosphorus Deficiencies

Phosphorus deficiencies can be harder to identify than other nutrients, mainly because they can often look the same as harsh environmental conditions.  But don’t worry, if you think you’re seeing something, call your Local Liqui-Grow Sales Applicator to get expert guidance in identifying those deficiencies. 

The main symptoms of phosphorus deficiencies are stunted plants or purplish leaves. It’s important to know what hybrids you have in your field, as some plants have natural characteristics that may resemble a phosphorus deficiency. 

Once plants have a bold blue or purple hue to them, though, recovery can be difficult. Thus, we recommend growers take a proactive approach to nutrient management to avoid potential issues.

Learn more about phosphorus management in this video to determine if your field has sufficient resources available or needs intensive application.

 

Thumbnail image for Phosphorus video

Maintaining Phosphorus Levels

Overall, the basics of phosphorus management haven’t changed. Soil naturally has very small amounts of phosphorus in a plant-available form. But phosphorus is usually in  mineral and organic forms that must go through a long process of weathering and microbial degradation before they become plant-available. Thus, phosphorus applications are often necessary to maintain adequate phosphorus levels.

Speaking of adequate levels, as new technologies emerge and advanced hybrids are developed, new phosphorus recommendations are coming into play. In 2023, Iowa State University updated their nutrient recommendations to meet the demands of production. See how your soil compares to these new standards here

Once phosphorus is applied, the soil does a great job of retaining it. When growers apply phosphorus in a liquid form, it is more readily available to the plant and isn’t bound up by other nutrients, like calcium, iron and aluminum. Liqui-Grow’s extensive testing and research has shown that using a balanced fertilizer approach and applying phosphorus at the same time as potassium and other micronutrients provides the best results for your crop’s performance. Using a phosphorus stabilizing product like Avail T5 further protects your nutrients and helps your fertilizer investment pay off even faster. 

To learn more about the technology available for phosphorus applications, watch this Liqui Grow Loop video and contact your local Liqui-Grow sales rep to create a customized nutrient management plan for your operation. Text us at 564-220-2508 or email questions@liqui-grow.com today.  

Why Nitrogen is the Lifeblood of Your Crop

 

A plant needs many nutrients to produce a good yield, but when it comes down to the basics, nitrogen is the lifeblood of your crops. This nutrient affects nearly every vital element of a plant’s life and structure.

The Importance of Nitrogen

To grow yields, a plant has to convert sugars into energy, and nitrogen plays a big role in this conversion. It is a key component of chlorophyll, the process by which a plant harvests sunlight and converts it to sugars used for vegetative and reproductive growth. That’s a long way of saying that you need nitrogen to make grain. In fact, it takes approximately .8 - 1.2 pounds of nitrogen to grow 1 bushel of corn. 

There are several forms and sources of nitrogen, but the most common for field application is ammonium nitrogen (NH4), as it is not easily lost from the soil. Once ammonium nitrogen enters the soil, it is converted into Nitrate (NO3) by microorganisms and used by crops for growth and development. Since nitrate is a water soluble form, it’s more easily lost in groundwater.  

Managing Nitrogen Levels

To grow yields, a plant has to convert sugars into energy, and nitrogen plays a big role in this conversion. It is a key component of chlorophyll, the process by which a plant harvests sunlight and converts it to sugars used for vegetative and reproductive growth. That’s a long way of saying that you need nitrogen to make grain. In fact, it takes approximately .8 - 1.2 pounds of nitrogen to grow 1 bushel of corn. 

There are several forms and sources of nitrogen, but the most common for field application is ammonium nitrogen (NH4), as it is not easily lost from the soil. Once ammonium nitrogen enters the soil, it is converted into Nitrate (NO3) by microorganisms and used by crops for growth and development. Since nitrate is a water soluble form, it’s more easily lost in groundwater.  

Nitrogen is naturally found in soils, and as the weather warms, mineralization of that nitrogen occurs to convert it into a plant available form. However, the majority of nitrogen in the soil currently is not plant available. And we can’t predict temperatures or rainfall far enough in advance to rely upon mineralization as a sole source of plant available nutrients.

Thus, to manage your nitrogen levels effectively, it’s important to understand your field’s soil type and texture. Loam type soils will retain nitrogen easier than others. Thus, if you have varied soil types throughout your fields, it’s not uncommon to see different nitrogen deficiencies in different fields at different times of the growing season. Fortunately, a crop’s high demand for nitrogen throughout the entire plant makes it easy to spot deficiencies.  

 

Here are some signs of low nitrogen levels in your soil: (https://www.powerag.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/corn-def-nitrogen-2.png)

  • Orange & red tint in the midrib of the leaf
  • Pale, yellow-ish green plant color (from decreased photosynthesis)
  • Poor plant structure, such as stunted plants and withering leaves
  • Leaves changing color from yellow-ish green to brown

 

Of course, the best way to prevent deficiencies is through proper nutrient management. At Liqui-Grow, we recommend applying 32% Liquid Nitrogen to keep your soil healthy and equipped for productive performance each year. It has a balance of 50% urea, 25% ammonium nitrogen (NO4+) and 25% nitrate (NO3-), providing three of the four main sources of commercial nitrogen.

This blend keeps crops fed throughout the season as the nitrate is immediately available and mobile in the soil, while the ammonium is not as easily lost and readily available to plants. The urea in this blend must be converted into ammonium nitrogen to be available to plants, which can occur in warm spring soils in less than a week. 

However, application alone doesn’t guarantee the nutrient will be available to your crop. 

There are four main ways that nitrogen is lost in the soil:

 

— Photo credit to University of Illinois – 

  1. Ammonia Volatilization — When nitrogen is laid on the ground, pH levels change and nitrogen can be lost into the air as gas. Most commonly this happens with urea and can result in up to 30% loss. The best way to naturally prevent ammonia volatilization is with tillage, rainfall or irrigation to push the nitrogen into the soil. However, a surface banding application can mitigate losses to a maximum of about 10%.
  2. Nitrogen Leaching — Once nitrogen enters the soil, the nitrate form can be lost when heavy rainfall carries it down into the soil. If leaching occurs more than 6’ below the soil, plants will likely not absorb the nutrient. 
  3. Immobilization — When nitrogen is immobilized, it does not flow freely through the soil, making it unavailable to plants. While not a permanent issue, nitrogen accessibility during key periods of plant need could be affected by immobilization.
  4. Denitrification – If soils are saturated and void of oxygen, nitrogen gas and nitric oxide can leave the soil in a gaseous form. 

This volatility means timing and method of nitrogen application is key to reducing nutrient loss. Under normal field conditions, it takes urea 3-5 days to convert into ammonium. Using a nitrogen stabilizer, such as ATS or Instinct®, helps slow the conversion from ammonium to nitrate, protecting the nitrogen from volatilization and leaching. 

Additionally, measuring your carbon to nitrogen ratio with a soil test will help keep nitrogen available to plants. A 12:1 carbon-to-nitrogen ratio is ideal for plant performance. Lower ratios will limit microbial activity, while a higher ratio will restrict the soil from releasing nitrogen. To learn the best strategies for managing this ratio, visit with your local agronomist. 

Utilizing the correct nitrogen source and applying the right rate at the right time will keep your crop, your wallet and your environment healthy and strong. To learn more about managing nitrogen in your field, ask a Liqui-Grow Sales Applicator or text us at 564-220-2508.

Unveiling Innovations: Liqui-Grow L.E.A.D. Academy Webinar November 30th!

 

The Liqui-Grow L.E.A.D. Academy is back in session on November 30th. Dr. Jake Vosennkemper will be diving into the latest research and insights that are shaping the future of farming.

Agenda Highlights:

ExactStrip Distance Study:

Jake shares his findings from this year’s ExactStrip Distance Study to discover how close your nutrients need to be applied to achieve the best results!

Multi-Location Fertilizer Placement Study:

Uncover the secrets of effective fertilizer placement through a comprehensive study conducted across multiple locations. Discover the best practices that can enhance nutrient uptake and contribute to healthier crops.

In-Furrow Additives for Corn:

Stay at the forefront of corn production with the latest updates on in-furrow additives as Dr. Jake explores how these additives ultimately increase your crop yields.

Multi-Location Foliar Applied Biological Screening Study in Soybeans:

Dr. Jake takes a deep dive into how new technologies and management strategies play a key role in improving soybean performance and yield.

The Importance of Including Zn in Starter Fertilizer:

Witness the impact of zinc (Zn) in starter fertilizers through a compelling real-world example. Learn why including this essential micronutrient is a game-changer for crop development and yield optimization.

Don't miss this opportunity to learn new strategies for your operation. Join the Liqui-Grow L.E.A.D. Academy Webinar on November 30th, and empower yourself with the knowledge to elevate your farming practices. 

Register TODAY!

 

Questions? Give us a shout! 

Text us at 564-220-2508 or email questions@liqui-grow.com.

How to Achieve Consistent Fertilizer Applications With Every Pass

 

Technology has given every grower the opportunity to precisely manage input costs and achieve maximum yield potential. When it comes to fertilizer applications, though, most farmers just throw nutrients on the field and hope the plant gets the benefit. 

Flat rate dry fertilizer application is a perfect example of this. Growers using this method spread a flat rate of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus on their field each year to keep nutrients available in the soil and increase yield potential. However, flat rate application fails to account for nutrient differences across the field and assumes that every acre needs the same amount of fertilizer each year.

To provide more accuracy and reduce cost, many growers shifted to using variable rate application methods. Based on annual soil sample results, growers could have custom recommendations for every field they sampled and calculate exactly how much of each fertilizer they needed each year. This allowed growers to save on input costs while providing the nutrients necessary to hit desired yield goals.

Unfortunately, the problem wasn’t fully solved.

Research has revealed that each type of dry fertilizer has a different spread pattern. This means even with a variable rate application, some nutrients are still spread heavier or lighter than desired. 

A 2018 Iowa State University study also found that dry fertilizer spreaders often have uneven distribution across their swath, even with proper calibration. The study showed that across a normal 90-120 foot spread pattern, the application directly behind the machine was less than on each side. The lack of consistent application results in fertilizer granules being scattered across the ground, oftentimes too far from the plant roots to be easily absorbed. 

 

The good news is Liqui-Grow has a solution.

The Liqui-Grow Advantage

Rather than spreading dry fertilizer that has to be dissolved and broken down to be absorbed, we start with liquid fertilizer. Liquid P & K Suspensions provide equal amounts of liquid fertilizer evenly across every acre. 

Why does this matter?

Our standard liquid suspension is applied in 15” centered rows, which we call banding.  Placing highly concentrated nutrients in close proximity to the plant improves uptake and utilization. Because the fertilizer is already in liquid form, it doesn’t get bound up in the soil, or by other nutrients like Calcium, Iron and Aluminum. This allows the plant to absorb it quicker than dry fertilizer. Learn more about banding fertilizer here.

Arguably the biggest benefit of liquid suspension fertilizer, though, is the increased performance in the field and profit potential. 

In our field trials of dry and liquid fertilizer application, we tested both flat fields and farms with hillsides to compare uniformity and harvest results. Not only did liquid suspension fertilizer provide a more even application with every pass, the dry fertilizer application resulted in higher levels of inconsistency as the rate increased, or when applied on a hillside.

This result is a leading cause for the multiple issues we see in fields with nutrient deficiencies, and it means growers are not receiving the full benefit from their investment. When the floater drives across your field, you should be confident every plant on every acre receives the nutrients it needs to perform.  

More efficient application always results in more profit potential. That’s why liquid fertilizer was developed. In fact, our research has shown that applying a liquid suspension band can result in five bushel per acre yield increase compared to broadcast applications. That’s money back in your pocket every time!

To feed your crop evenly, improve your field performance and profit potential, text us at 564-220-2508 or email questions@liqui-grow.com.