As growers prepare for the 2020 growing season, we sat down with Nutrien Marketing Representative John Niemeyer to discuss the challenges farmers faced last season and the opportunities ahead for #Plant20. From extreme weather conditions to new crops, and how Rainbow Plant Food fits into the equation, here are some of Niemeyer’s perspectives on the upcoming season.
Question: What are some of the key takeaways from the 2019 season that can be applied this year?
John Niemeyer: Last year in some areas, it was very tough because of the rain we had. I think the key takeaway is that you have to plan ahead, but then you have to be flexible as well.
Q: Do you have any predictions for the 2020 growing season?
JN: I’ve read a few books from meteorologists and they’ll all tell you that being accurate beyond ten days is well below five or six percent. To predict what the year is going to be like as far as weather conditions go, that’s tough to do. You just have to go into the spring and not be afraid, and plan for the best crop you can make. You can adjust in-season on some things – when it comes to nitrogen application or fungicide application – but when you plant the crop you have to go in with the attitude that “this is going to be the best yield I’ve ever gotten.”
Q: Are there any specific opportunities you anticipate growers will face in 2020?
JN: In some key areas hemp is on the rise. Like anything else, every farmer is going to want to grow the best, and we’re going to work with them to help figure out what they need to grow the best hemp out there.
Another opportunity is the way the business of farming is changing. We have a lot of people now that want to know what you’re growing and what you’re putting on your crop. I think there’s opportunity there for the growers that already do a lot of record keeping, and for those who don’t to start.
Q: Are there any benefits to using Rainbow Plant Food in a year with heavy rainfall?
JN: We think of nitrogen as leaching or volatilizing up in the air, but sulfur and boron, these elements can do this too. If we’re just putting sulfur on in a wet spring, there is a chance of losing that into the ground water. Any element that’s in a stable form that has a negative charge is not going to bind with the soil. When you look at Rainbow fertilizer where we’re adding micronutrients in each granule and applying it evenly across the ground and much closer spaced, the nutrients within each granule – both micro and macro – are not as vulnerable to losses compared to applying each nutrient on its own.
Q: Why should growers use Rainbow Plant food?
JN: Rainbow is an ammoniated product, so almost all the Rainbow grades that go out also have micronutrients, giving you a better feeding ingredient for your farm. It works especially well in areas where you have more and more loss, such as sandy soils, or higher input crops such as vegetables. An ammoniated product, which feeds the roots better, is a good place to start when looking at pulling higher yields.