Managing a Microenvironment

Managing a Microenvironment from Central Valley Ag on Vimeo.

by Mike Zwingman

by Mike Zwingman

There are movies that when they come on you can’t help but finish watching them no matter where you start watching. One of those movies for me is “Office Space.”  There is a scene in that movie where someone brings a birthday cake to the office, and Milton is standing there as he is forced to help hand out pieces of cake; he mutters “The ratio of people to cake is too big.”  He’s talking about distribution; which when we think about how nutrients are applied, it becomes a big deal.

The problem is that many of the nutrients that our crops need are somewhat immobile for instance Phosphorus and Zinc, but the fact that they share diffusion as their primary nutrient uptake process presents an additional challenge. Phosphorus and Zinc are both absorbed strongly by the soil, and as the root grows through the soil, it creates a gradient for those nutrients to diffuse through from a zone of high concentration to the depleted zone adjacent to the root.  Distribution becomes important for the simple fact that if the nutrients aren’t there, they don’t move towards the root. They would if the uptake happened through mass flow, which makes even and homogeneous distribution of nutrients is important for maximizing nutrient uptake.

When it comes to distribution Phosphorus and Zinc have different challenges. With Phosphorus, we are spreading on average hundreds of pounds per acre, compared to Zinc, which we are spreading Tens of pounds per acre tends to leave us with some problems. This is where MicroEssentials© SZ™ or as most of you know it (MeSZ) is a critical tool that enables us to overcome some of our distribution problems across your fields. Every granule of MeSZ has the same nutrient analysis thanks to its Fusion© technology; giving us increased uptake. Essential nutrients like Phosphorus, Sulfur, and Zinc, are available in the rooting zone when and where the plant needs it.

MicroEssentials© SZ™ provides a great deal of nutrient balance between Phosphorus and Zinc and this is important for two reasons which are a bit paradoxical. First, Zinc is critical for the uptake of Phosphorus by the plant because of its role in the production and functionality an enzyme that facilitates the diffusion of Phosphorus into the root. There paradox comes in because where there is more Phosphorus in the soil the less available Zinc is; MicroEssentials© SZ™ helps fill the needs of both those situations very well.

Untitled-2The other thing MicroEssentials© SZ™  does through its Fusion© technology; it uses two forms of Sulfur on every granule; sulfate sulfur which satisfies the needs for early season growth and elemental sulfur which becomes available later in the season when the plant needs it to use Nitrogen efficiently.  The other “cool” feature (if you are as nerdy about soil chemistry as I am) takes place throughout the growing season. As the elemental sulfur oxidizes into sulfate-sulfur (plant available), there is a slight reduction pH right around the granule. This process allows for an increase of nutrient uptake by making the phosphorus more available to the root across the diffusion gradient.

Implementation of this product also helps free up valuable bin space when executing VRT applications with dry machines and especially strip-till rigs. The ratios of the nutrients are very balanced to allow us to vary those applications across fields and still have the nutrients we need to fulfill the plant’s needs. This combination of operational flexibility, nutrient balance, and optimization of distribution has led to a historical 7.2 bushel per acre advantage over MAP. MicroEssentials© SZ™ is a premium phosphate fertilizer that ensures sure everyone at the party gets a piece of the cake.