4 Keys to Choosing the Right Raw Material

When it comes to purchasing nutrients how do you know which is the best choice of raw material, particularly if there are several options for seemingly the same product?

Like any quality product it is the raw material that determines its ultimate quality.  Lets take something that we are all too familiar with, Glysophate, and how many different versions of it are on the market.  There are now hundreds on the market, but just because they call them a glysophate, are they all the same? The answer is a resounding no!

So when it comes to different nutrients and their raw materials, the same applies as it does with the Glysophate, they are not all the same. Whether it is different nutrients or the exact same nutrient, quality varies greatly.  We have found ourselves that by trying to save a few dollars going for a cheaper source of raw material of exactly the same nutrient, you can run in to trouble and the four below points are the biggest issues you face.

Black Urea Granules

(1) Higher Solubility

This may seem an obvious one, but it’s one that is often missed.  The higher quality of raw material the higher the solubility.  A lot of raw material claim to be 100% soluble but that is not always the case, as they look to be soluble but from a plants perspective they often are not.  Efficient nutrient uptake by plants, especially foliar, requires several aspects, and one important one is nutrient solubility.

(2) Higher Analysis

The second key point of having the right raw material is the final analysis of a product.  This goes back to how important point 1 is, solubility helps determine product analysis.  High quality, high soluble raw material results in higher analysis product and this means growers get a much better bang to their dollar as they save on transport, application and handling.  Add high analysis to higher nutrient uptake and you have much better economics for crop production.

(3) No Sediment or Crystals

Hassle free and ease of application is a must in high production agriculture.  Having high quality raw material in nutrients ensures this is the case.  Cheap raw material results in sediment on the bottom of packaging and then spray tanks which will block spray nozzles causing time loss, but more importantly uneven application of product onto the crop and this is where it really can do damage.  Forming of crystals in packaging is also another issue associated with cheap raw material.  This can be nutrients “dropping” out as they cannot hold solubility.  Again this means that those nutrients are not going onto the crop where growers are paying them to be.

(4) Reduced Chlorides and Nitrates

Nutrient source can also be a factor in quality.  Chlorides and nitrates, although have their (limited) place in nutrition, are not the best or most effective source of nutrient.  They are high in salts and can be quite harsh on a plant, which can reduce uptake by the plant.  Nitrates are used for growth stages of a plants life, but often are used at the wrong time due to its partner nutrient such as calcium or potassium.  Why are they used at these incorrect times? Purely because people assume that they are cheap they are more economical?  But if they are the wrong nutrient is applied at the wrong time, they are not easily taken up by the plant. Creating issues in plants such as high nitrates and their effect on cell formation etc. then can they really be viewed as the best economic option?

When you’re looking to choose nutrients to apply to your crops, consider these 4 key points in your decision process.  Remember, cheap is not always cheap when the desired results are not achieved.