Sign up for email alerts of new Fluid Journal issues!
Fluid Journal : Fall 2017
5 The Fluid Journal Fall 2017 From The Publishers Dr. Julian Smith The Fluid Journal • Official Journal of the Fluid Fertilizer Foundation • Fall 2017 • Vol. 25, No. 4, Issue #98 Anew President and regime, a new Secretary of Agriculture, and same old programs-- research budget reductions and low commodity prices – is our industry on the rack? Throw in a couple of devastating hurricanes, and agriculture is up against the arresting effects of politics and nature – or is it? Agriculture remains a resilient industry that countries largely owe their histories to. Several examples come to mind: • Coffee rust wiped out coffee in India that colonial Britain replaced with tea plantations, hence a nation of tea drinkers. Modern fluid research in Brazil takes aim at coffee rust through foliar fluid fertilizer sprays to balance leaf nutrient levels that assist resistance to this devastating fungal disease • Post dust bowl Oklahoma, acidic soils toxic to wheat production were largely ameliorated by pop-up applications of fluid phosphate starters • FFF research in the UK clearly indicated reduced foliar disease and improved bread making quality of wheat through timely foliar fluid fertilizer applications • One of the first FFF projects still serves as a classic example that by increasing phosphate fertilizer rate, timing, and placement, nitrogen efficiency and yields were greatly improved, thus benefiting the environment and production levels from Virginia to Colorado • Australian research funded by the FFF clearly demonstrated that placement of fluids versus dry fertilizer improves P availability, micronutrient uptake, and yield • Argentinian FFF projects indicate positive yield, economic, and environmental benefits from fluid fertilizer applications • The resolution of late season potassium deficiency in California and the mid-South was largely resolved through FFF research and subsequent application of nutrients in a fluid form. Such is history – but we can learn a lot, given the uncertainties of the future. Founding FFF member Scot Tinsman commissioned a response to the “sustainable agriculture” movement in the late 1980s. Much of the comment and referenced FFF research remains cogent to this day – the thrust of the document was agronomic benefit, coupled with environmental protection and economic return. Sound familiar? The FFF relied heavily on collaboration with other industry associations and land grant researchers to procure a message of agricultural productivity coupled with environmental protection. A message that rings true today. From the FFF came “timing, concentration, placement” and “strip, starter, split” – Full credit to Dr. Stanley Barber, Purdue University and Mr. Harry Melton, Tri-County Liquid Fertilizers for naming rights! The PPI (now IPNI) promoted the Maximum Economic Yield (MEY) concept in the same era and was entirely compatible with the FFF research and vision – as were the lobbying efforts of the Fertilizer Institute (TFI). Where are we now? Similar messages, different era. The early work of the FFF and associated publications from the National Fertilizer Solutions Association (NFSA), coupled with IPNI and TFI have largely culminated in the 4R approach as an extension of our industry to promote sound crop production practices commensurate with environmental protection. However, a big change has taken place in this 30 year period that is worth noting – genetics. Genetics always was a factor but unparalleled in this day and age – continued FFF research and others will continue to explore this new frontier in partnership with others. The role of fluid fertilizers in promoting gene expression to enhance food, fiber, and fuel production (allied with economics and environmental responsibility) is as strong as ever. Dr. Julian Smith is President of CZO Agronomcs, LLC in Carrizozo, NM, and a member of the FFF Board of Directors, R & E Committee, and Editorial Committee. “The role of fluid fertilizers is as strong as ever”