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Agricultural Review | January 23, 2018

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Utilizing Horizon Ag-Products Technology to Implement 4R Nutrient Management Strategies

Utilizing Horizon Ag-Products Technology to Implement 4R Nutrient Management Strategies

It is a well known fact that crops only use a fraction of the nutrients applied because of various losses.  Nitrogen fertilizers are subject to leaching, fixation and volatilization.  Phosphorus is subject to severe tie-up in calcareous soils or in iron or aluminum dominated acid soils.  Potassium is subject to fixation by soil clays.  Micronutrients are subject to precipitation and tie up.

Consider the following illustration.  The average grower applies 400 to 500 lbs./acre of P2O5 to grow a 400 cwt./acre crop in central Idaho, when in fact a 400 cwt crop only uses 125 lbs.  Laboratory recommendations by the two leading laboratories in the area both assume that applied phosphorus, even when banded, is only 30% efficient.  This implies that at least 70% of the applied phosphorus fertilizer is lost through tie-up and other inefficiencies.

Scientists and agronomists who have studied Horizon Ag-Products nutrient use efficiency technologies have documented the ability of Horizon’s products to reduce and partially resolve many of the problems associated with fertilizer tie-up and loss.  For over 30 years, Horizon’s trusted partner distribution network has demonstrated and proven that nutrient management programs benefit from the additions of these proprietary formulations. This report presents the primary rationale and basis for these recommendations.

Phosphorus Fertilizers

Improving the efficiency of phosphorus fertilizer uptake by reducing tie-ups with calcium, iron and aluminum is one of the best documented, significant, and consistent effects of Horizon’s products on plant nutrition.  Nine out of ten studies published in scientific literature showed significant improvements in plant uptake of phosphorus when humic substances were present.

We surveyed agricultural consultants and soil laboratories in California, Washington and Idaho.   The average fertilizer recommendation for phosphorus in a low organic matter, calcareous soil assumes amaximum efficiency of 31%.  As the lime content increases this efficiency becomes worse.  An agronomist working for a large farming operation in Prosser, Washington conducted an experiment on is own farm in which he measured an 80% loss in available phosphorus after 24 hours in the banded 10-34-0 fertilizer on a high free lime soil.  The loss was 90% after 48 hours.

Studies conducted by a large potato farming company in the Paso, WA area showed that the use of Horizon’s soluble humus technology allowed them to reduce phosphorus fertilizer applications by 15% or more, yet have tissue phosphorus levels 25 to 35% higher on average as compared to their standard grower program fields.

Based upon 30 years of experience with our formulations and phosphorus fertilizers, we have documented that the addition of our products to liquid phosphorus fertilizers can increase phosphate efficiency of uptake by 10 to 20%.  This calculation assumes that the soil is low in organic matter (<2.0%) and has a presence of free lime or an abundance of either iron or aluminum.

Nitrogen Fertilizers

Experiments conducted on a large cotton and tomato ranch in Firebaugh confirmed that the addition of Horizon Ag-Products’ to side-dress nitrogen resulted in petiole nitrate levels that were 30 to 50% higher throughout the crucial bloom and early fruit set period on tomatoes.  Dr. James Brownell documented in his laboratory at California State University, Fresno that humic substances added to UAN-32 reduced the leaching of nitrate by 30% or more in sand columns.

Various studies have shown that nitrate uptake is enhanced by 15 to 100% by the addition of humic substances.  During the same trial conducted near Pasco, WA, the large potato company reported that they were able to cut back nitrogen applications by 6%, yet petiole nitrogen numbers remained higher 90% of the time where Horizon Ag’s formulations were applied.

Considering these studies, together with more than 30 years experience in the field with our products and nitrogen fertilizers, Horizon Ag-Products feels confident in recommending that the addition of our soluble humus-based products with liquid nitrogen fertilizers can improve its’ efficiency by at least 10%.   For over three decades, users of our products have reduced nitrogen applications by 10% or more when adding our products.  Nitrogen savings can be even more dramatic on sandy soils where a substantial amount of leaching occurs.

Potassium Fertilizers

Horizon technologies improve potassium nutrition in two ways:  1) Release of fixed potassium from soil clays is enhanced.  This helps improve potassium concentrations in the soil solution for those times of peak potassium use.   2) Plants are stimulated in their active uptake mechanism by our products.  Increases in potassium uptake of 34% have been reported in studies using humic substances.  Numerous trials conducted with our products have shown improvements in tissue potassium from 20 to 40%.

Zinc, Iron and Micronutrients

Agronomists have recognized for decades that chelated forms of zinc, iron and other micronutrients are 5 to 10 times more available than mineral forms.  Researchers have documented the complexing properties of humic substances in relation to zinc, iron and copper.

There is substantial field research that strongly indicates Horizon products can improve the efficiency of uptake of micronutrients by 50 to 200%.  Studies on Apple orchards in the Columbia Basin indicated that soil applications of Horizon’s dry products and iron sulfate significantly corrected severe iron chlorosis.  Horizon’s foliar products have been shown in field trials to greatly enhance the uptake of spring applied basic zinc (zinc oxide) on walnut trees and on fall applied zinc sulfate on almonds.

Horizon’s low molecular chemistries when added to chelated forms of iron and zinc, or to citrates and lignosulfonates improves the uptake and mobility of the nutrients. Studies showed greater nutrient mobility within the plant.

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