As micronutrients become a regular component of farmers’ soil testing and fertilizer programs, retailers need to be prepared to sell high-quality micronutrient products that can fit their blending systems and meet customers’ needs.

To aid retailers, Wolf Trax has assessed four different types of soil-applied micronutrient products in categories that matter to retailers’ businesses and growers’ crops: granular micronutrients, macronutrient granules that include micronutrients, dry dispersible powder (DDP) fertilizer coatings, and liquid fertilizer coatings.

Here are five categories and how each micronutrient type scores: from 1 (the lowest) to 5 (the highest).

Type

Granular Micronutrients

Macro Granules that Include Micros DDP Fertilizer Coatings

Liquid Fertilizer Coatings

Blend Consistency Grade

2

4 5

5

Comments Many granular micronutrients are up to 40 percent heavier than the N-P-K portion of your blend. And because particle size can be variable, travelling with the blend or routine handling can lead to micronutrient segregation through the load. The result is uneven application. Most macronutrients that include micronutrients have similar densities and granule size as granular macronutrients and can mix easily in blends. Featuring EvenCoat Technology, DDP Nutrients mix evenly through the load because the micronu-trient coats every granule of the dry fertilizer blend via electrostatic adhesion. Liquid fertilizer coatings mix evenly through the load because the micronutrient coats every granule of the dry fertilizer blend.
Customization Flexibility Grade

3

3.5 5

4

Comments Any combination of micronutrients can be added to a blend, but due to segregation in the load, there is little ability to control and provide the customized mix of nutrients across a field. These typically contain only one micronutrient in the granule.  Plus the micronutrient rate cannot be independently adjusted. Rate can be adjusted based on crop requirements, and a combination of micronutrients can be added to a blend. Rate can be adjusted. Limited number of micronutrient products available. May not be able to adjust ratio of nutrients in combination products.
Early Crop Availability Grade

2

3.5 5

4.5

Comments The distance between granules in the field can be several inches to feet apart; thus many seedlings will not have early access to the micronutrient granule. Crop availability varies depending on the micronutrient form. More points of interception than granular micronutrients for better early availability, but only a portion of the blend contains micronutrients. Micronutrient coats every prill in the blend for blanket-like distribution in the field and closer proximity to young roots for earlier uptake. The micronutrient features a PlantActiv formuation , and manufacturer guarantees nutrient uptake. Enhanced distribution and more points of interception increases likelihood of early uptake.
Handling Grade

3

5 4

4

Comments Relatively easy, but retailers must handle and move a large amount of product in comparison to fertilizer coatings. Relatively easy to handle at retail. Lower rates applied mean less handling at retail. New handling and metering systems make adding DDP fertilizer coatings easy in any blending system. (Click here for blog post on new handling equipment.) Can be blended in cold conditions. Application equipment is required. To maintain viscosity, specialized equipment may be needed to blend in very cold temperatures.
Storage Grade

3

3.5 5

4

Comments Requires dedicated storage (bins, warehouse floor space, etc.) Requires dedicated bulk storage (bins). Takes up little space and is easy to store. Does not require heated storage. Many DDPs can also be used in foliar applications to minimize SKUs. Requires little space, but manufacturers may recommend heated storage if temperatures are below freezing.
           
Overall Grade  

2.6

3.9 4.8

 4.3

 

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