From the field: Talking #Grow20 with Stephen Johnson

As farmers progress through the 2020 growing season, we sat down with Stephen Johnson, Nutrien Senior Manager, Ag Specialties East, to discuss weather conditions, challenges and opportunities for #Grow20. From planting progress to crop markets, here are some of Johnson’s perspectives on the current season.

Question: What are the current weather conditions in your area? 

Stephen Johnson: Hot and humid across the South East. Most areas have adequate moisture with the exception of the panhandle of Florida, however they received a good amount of rainfall over the weekend. 

Q: How did planting progress this year compare to other years? 

SJ: We had an early start, then rain set in, but overall it was a much better planting season than 2019. As of June 8th, corn and soybean planting was pretty much complete and right at the 10-year average. Cotton was 10 percent behind the 10-year average but ahead of 2019. 

Q: What challenges do you expect growers to face this season? 

SJ: Profitability due to a decline in commodity crop prices, and demand for crops due to Covid-19. 

Q: What opportunities might growers have this season? 

SJ: Growers should watch the markets closely and be ready to forward sell if the numbers work in their operation. New demand from the China trade deal is starting to surface and demand for corn in ethanol production should begin to come back once the economy reopens. Government farm programs are another opportunity growers should take advantage of where they can.

Q: Have growers in your area made changes to what they are planting this year? 

SJ: Yes. Cotton acres will be down 10–25 percent or more depending on geography, while corn and soybean acres are projected to be up. Most feel USDA corn planning estimates will be off as we had a number of acres shift from corn to soybean during or just before crops were planted.   

Q: Why is using Rainbow Plant Food particularly important in a year with tight margins? 

SJ: It’s times like this when growers need to produce their best yields and highest quality crops and that’s where Rainbow Plant Food comes in. Rainbow is a homogenous fertilizer, meaning each granule contains near equal amounts of macro and micro nutrients. The end result is a more uniform spread and balanced nutrition across the field so plants have them when needed. The Americus, GA plant produces 40+ grades for all types of crops and applications and can even customize grades as needed.         


To get answers to your own questions, Ask the Agronomist or tweet us at @Rainbow_Plant.

To learn more about Rainbow Plant Food products, view application recommendations by crop.