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Fluid Journal : Late Spring 2012
11 The Fluid Journal Late Spring 2012 How one man worked to put the fluid concept on the world market. Chronology of a Dream The Fluid Journal • Official Journal of the Fluid Fertilizer Foundation • Late Spring 2012 • Vol. 20, No. 3, Issue# 77 The year 1971 was the 18th year since the introduction of a fluid fertilizer into the United States. The National Fertilizer Solutions Association (NFSA) decided to celebrate this occasion. Although the period up to 1971 was exciting, the successive harvests in those 18 years had reduced the fertility of the once rich prairie soils. Since my dad was also president of the NFSA for that year, in addition to his duties as President of Nutra-Flo, he decided to use this occasion to produce a three-screen slide show. The show used three 8-foot by 8-foot screens standing side by side. Images filled the individual screens or sometimes a single image spanned all three screens. All were supported by stereophonic sound with narration and music. He wrote NFSA members and asked them to send in their old slides so he could show how our industry had advanced over this period. He was surprised at the number of slides sent in. When they were arranged in chronological order they represented how our development of original equipment was rapidly replaced by improved equipment. In effect, my dad would be entering a part of a free enterprise system that ultimately would fuel a revolution that tripled yields. Evolving stages In the early years my dad focused the slide presentations on how to increase soil fertility and other techniques to improve yields. Nutra-Flo produced over 50 programs between 1967 and 1997. Topics varied but all were designed to promote the advantages of fluid fertilizer and challenge the grower to improve his yields through better farming practices. Some of the topics, while at times revolutionary, are still relevant today. Explored were the physical and chemical aspects of nitrogen, phosphate, and potash. Should the next year be dry, ways were explored on how to save rainwater via contour tillage and residue management that would collect snow. Efforts were made to solve problems that occurred the year before. For example, the next year’s slide program might present solutions to compaction problems that reduced yields. One of the most important problems was that of plant population per acre. This involved row width. Since the days of horses were gone and we no longer required 40-inch rows, why not plant 30- or 20-inch rows? In the slide program, titled “Maximizing Soil Productivity,” graphics were presented on how to build the soil structure deeply (down to 18 inches) to support more plants, with the ultimate goal to produce 300 bushels of corn per acre! Summing up What follows should give you a good idea where his slide programs promoting fluid fertilizer technology led, starting in the early stages where national corn grain yield averaged Summary: These are some excerpts from a diary of my dad’s, Bill Lohry, who was founder of Nutra-Flo Company and an ardent (and I don’t say that lightly) promoter of fluid fertilizers. A consummate educator, his desire was to improve American agriculture through challenging and informative slide presentations to growers and the dealers servicing them. Below is a chronological listing of some of those presentations, including commentary by him that provides insight into some of the struggles he went through in creating and growing a vibrant new enterprise- -the fluid fertilizer industry. Dr. Raun Lohry
Early Spring 2012