June 2016

June 13th, 2016

"LONDON (ICIS)--Participants in the fertilizer market are still reeling days after a ban was imposed by Turkey on all fertilizers containing nitrates, with many calling the move a knee-jerk reaction on the part of the government.

"I am mad about the decision. This means no import as well, at least till further notice. For ammonium nitrate, I can understand the ban [AN is explosive]. But for calcium ammonium nitrate and potassium nitrate, they [the ministry] really do not know what they have done," a Turkish supplier said.

On 8 June, the Ministry Of Agriculture and the Ministry of the Interior (security affairs) banned the sale or distribution of ammonium nitrate (AN), calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN) and potassium nitrate with immediate effect.

The move comes following several car bomb attacks in Turkey this year amid fears AN can be used to make explosives. There is confusion surrounding the ban on CAN since it is not an explosive.

What has upset the industry in Turkey and outside is that the ban was introduced out of the blue without any consultations. The government has banned all fertilizers containing nitrates without determining if the fertilizer is explosive or not.

The annual market for AN and CAN in Turkey is around 2m tonnes. The country also has a large domestic industry based on AN and CAN fertilizers. As for potassium nitrate, Turkey has no production domestically. It imports potassium nitrate from Israel or Jordan."

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June 8th, 2016

Contributed by Dr. Raymond Hoyum, President, Advantage International and Dr. T. Scott Murrell,Director, IPNI North America Program

Knowledge Doubling Curve

Buckminster Fuller created the “Knowledge Doubling Curve”; he noticed that until 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every century. By the end of World War II knowledge was doubling every 25 years. Today things are not as simple. Different disciplines have different rates of growth. For example, nanotechnology knowledge is doubling every two years and clinical knowledge every 18 months. But on average human knowledge is doubling every 13 months.  According to IBM, the build out of the “internet of things” will lead to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours. 

Agriculture is no different. Growers are constantly challenged by the huge body of information available to them.  Agronomists and growers alike have long recognized the value of using all the tools available to them in developing a high yield efficient crop production system.  For example, over 20 years ago, growers recognized the value of sharing information with their peers through the formation of local MEY (Maximum  Economic Yield) Clubs. 

In many areas of the US, in recent years those early concepts have evolved into grower/retailer/consultant/researcher partnerships known as Research Networks. Today, growers are expanding their contacts nationally, as well as, internationally.  With new social media tools, growers continue to expand the circle of influence.

June 8th, 2016

Contributed by Dr. Thomas Jensen, Director, IPNI North American Program

Don’t forget the weather experienced during a crop year has the greatest effect on crop yields. Crops need sunlight, warmth, moisture, and nutrients to grow. When crops are grown under rain fed conditions, the only need we can supplement is nutrients by adding fertilizers and livestock manures as appropriate. 

Access to irrigation allows addition of water if moisture is in short supply, but we can’t do much if rainfall is excessive. The reality is that farmers are at the mercy of the weather. Most of the time the weather is conducive to reasonably good crop production, but sometimes we receive insufficient moisture, and or warmth, and crop yields are poor. 

In contrast there are those extraordinary crop years when all the crop needs are supplied in just the right combination. For example, 2013 was an example of one of those extraordinary crop years, as experienced in the Western

Canadian Prairie provinces.  In Alberta the average yield of all wheat types was over 58 bu/A. This is the highest average wheat yield experienced from 1962 through to 2013. The average for the previous 9 crop years, 2004 through 2012, was just over 45 bu/A, so considering the past 10 years the 2013 crop year was 29% higher yielding than the average of the previous 9 years. 

Read full version here.


June 8th, 2016

Contributed by Dr. Clifford S. Snyder, Director, IPNI Nitrogen Program

Higher crop yields place increased nutrient-supplying pressures on the soil. It is well known that crop roots absorb nutrients from the soil solution through root interception (as roots explore new soil volumes), mass flow (as water moves through soil pores), and diffusion (as nutrients move in the soil solution from a zone of higher concentration to alower concentration) processes. 

Soils with higher fertility levels are better able to supply plant nutrients during times of environmental stress and also during peak crop uptake demands. Wise, economic additions of fertilizer and/or manure help replace the available nutrients removed from the soil by crop harvests, erosion, leaching, and other losses. Neglecting such nutrient replenishment leads to declines in:

1) soil fertility, 2) crop productivity, 3) cropping system resilience, and 4) indices of soil health; which threaten sustainability.

Soil testing is a very important tool in assessing current levels of soil fertility, and in monitoring changes over time; an essential sustainability practice. However, soil testing is not a perfect tool …. and experienced agronomists know that they should also use complementary plant tissue analyses, as well as estimates of crop harvest nutrient removal, to assess and manage optimum plant nutrition in each field and sub-field area.

Read full version here.