Reap more of what you sow.

July 22, 2016

A New Reality Emerging: How Iowa State Is Setting the Bar for Fertilizer Guidelines.

Many university-recommended fertilizer application rates have remained unchanged for years, but the work done by Iowa State’s Dr. Mallarino, known as the “Mallarino Model,” has many rethinking their recommendations. His research methods and results are proving to be a better reflection of what farmers are seeing in their fields, and offering a more accurate guideline to help maximize crop yield, fertilizer response, and ultimately profits.

Iowa State Potash Recommendation RATES

Revised recommendations support need for higher potash application rates.


July 15, 2016

With Today’s Prices, Potash Is Key to Improving Margins for Cash Renters.

Crop prices have been low all year and 2017 is shaping up to be the same. So it’s no surprise that growers are looking to save money this fall, especially cash-renters. Cutting back makes sense if you have high potassium levels, but if your field is testing “low” or “very low,” you could potentially miss out on thousands. Iowa Certified Crop Advisor Tom Smidt explains how actually investing in potassium, rather than cutting back, makes the most business sense – even for a one-year, cash-rent.

Potassium’s Return On Investment

Tom Smidt illustrates the profitability of investing in potash, even in a one-year, cash-rent situation.

June 21, 2016

Five-Step Process For Identifying Nutrient Deficiencies

If your crop is showing signs of discoloration, stunted growth or poor health, there’s a proven five-step process that’ll help get your crops and your profitability back on track.

June 1, 2016

ROI Calculator 2.0: Accounting for Spatial Variability to Predict Financial Benefits of Potash.

Introducing the eKonomics Return On Investment Calculator 2.0. It’s the industry’s first to incorporate spatial variability, which means it’s a better reflection of field-scale agriculture. With margins being extremely tight, it’s a great tool to help you calculate, based on your soil test, if an investment in potash can improve your bottom line.


Managing crop inputs based upon an average soil test level is becoming a thing of the past. Today’s most successful growers account for the range of highs and lows (a.k.a. spatial variance) that comprise the “average”. So even if your soil test indicates your field is above the critical level, the cost of fertilizing the “low” areas is more than offset by the increase in bushels-per-acre return.


April 4, 2016

4R’s: For the Environment and For Profitability.

Many people think of environmental sustainability when they think of the 4Rs, but the truth is, they’re just as important to a grower’s profitability. Illinois Certified Crop Advisor Dan Schaefer details how following these 4 guidelines can benefit both the environment and your bottom line.

The 4R’s.

4R's: For the Environment and for Profitiablity.

March 21, 2016

For Soils Testing Below the Critical, It’s Vital to Apply More Than Crop Removal to Reach Yield Potential.

Using crop removal numbers is a wonderful tool to help guide the application of fertilizer. But as Dr. Robert Mullen points out, that method is only accurate if soils are at or above the critical level. Otherwise, application rates should compensate for “buffering” which can prevent crops from getting the nutrients they need to reach yield potential.

Potassium Sufficiency: Rebuild Vs. Maintenance

To ensure adequate potassium levels (a fan in every seat), the maintenance approach is the most effective.

How Starters Can Improve Your Bottom Line, Beyond Improved Yields.

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February 19, 2016

Experts Advise Illinois Growers to Focus on Potash in 2016.

In a year with lower commodity prices, it may be tempting to cut back on potassium. However, as Illinois Certified Crop Advisors Dan Schaefer and Harold Reetz point out, that could be a huge financial mistake, especially if your soils are among the 36% below the critical level. In this video, they detail how adequate potassium levels are key to maximizing profitability given today’s market conditions.

The Need for Potassium in Illinois

How Starters Can Improve Your Bottom Line, Beyond Improved Yields.

See Illinois Nutrient Balance Trends

February 1, 2016

Three Factors Leading To Declining Potassium Balance In Indiana.

Indiana producers are growing some of the best corn in the state’s history, but with 25% of Indiana soils testing below the critical level for potassium, it’s important not to get lulled into a false sense of security. Certified Crop Advisor Steve Dlugosz explains the importance of potash to a grower’s profitability and the three pitfalls to avoid in order to maintain the proper potassium levels needed to reach yield potential.

The Need for Potassium in Indiana

How Starters Can Improve Your Bottom Line, Beyond Improved Yields.

See Indiana Nutrient Balance Trends

January 18, 2016

Three Lesser-known Advantages of Starter Fertilizers.

For many growers, starters translate into better yields, but as Dr. Robert Mullen points out, there area a number of other agronomic and economic advantages to applying starter materials this spring.

How Starters Can Improve Your Bottom Line, Beyond Improved Yields.

How Starters Can Improve Your Bottom Line, Beyond Improved Yields.

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September 01, 2015

Top Ohio CCA confirms findings of new eKonomics nutrient balance analysis.

The eKonomics nationwide nutrient balance analysis reveals a shocking decrease in potassium levels over the last thirty years. This may come as a surprise to some, but to Mike Dailey, 2012 Ohio Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) of the year, it only validates what he’s seen over the last three decades in the field. He and his fellow CCAs agree that this trend may pose the biggest threat to a grower’s profitability.

5 reasons K levels have fallen below the threshold of best economic yield:

5 Reasons K Levels Have Fallen Below the Threshold of Best Economic Yield

August 19, 2015

The Importance of Potassium in Cotton

When you look at the many biological benefits of proper potassium nutrition in cotton, investing in K inputs is an intriguing proposition. But when you look at the financial benefits, especially on low K soils, it’s a no-brainer.

Average Yield and Return Generated from Investment in Potassium

Average Yield and Return Generated from Investment in Potassium

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June 15, 2015

Understanding Today’s Nutrient Trends
to Prepare for Tomorrow’s Fertilizer Needs.

Dr. Robert Mullen explains some of the key findings revealed by the industry’s first state-by-state nutrient balance analysis, exclusive to eKonomics. It’s the first-of-its-kind to aggregate nutrient removal records, fertilizer consumption information and manure data – all of which is helping farmers understand what conditions are like in their area, and what to prepare for in the future.

Why more farmers are considering potassium part of their fertilizer strategy.

Midwest Potassium Balances Trending Down

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April 28, 2015

K Can Improve Overall Quality of Fruits and Veggies.

Potassium does more than just help maximize yields, it helps maximize the quality and marketability of those yields. As Dr. Mullen points out, increased seed size, longer shelf life, thicker peels, increased sugar content, more vitamins, more carotenoids and more anti-oxidants can all be attributed to adequate potassium nutrition.

February 16, 2015

Why Investing in Only Nitrogen this Spring, May Cost You Dollars this Fall.

Many producers follow Liebig’s Law of the Minimum, which states that maximum yield is dictated by the most limiting nutrient. For Midwestern corn growers, that nutrient is often nitrogen in the spring. The problem is, many misinterpret Liebig’s Law to mean an investment in nitrogen is all that’s needed to maximize yield – but that’s only true if all other nutrients are supplied at 100% sufficiency. In this video, Dr. Robert Mullen points out the importance of not ignoring other limiting factors like potassium. Because if your field is short on K in spring, you could be short thousands in fall.

If all nutrients aren’t supplied to 100% sufficiency, yields will be lost.

If all nutrients aren’t supplied to 100% sufficiency, yields will be lost.

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February 16, 2015

Even with Lower Crop Prices, Investing in K Can Be Very Profitable.

When crop prices soften, investing in potassium may not seem like a priority. But for growers deficient in K, it should be. The numbers indicate that in many cases, an investment in potassium will not only pay for itself, it may dramatically increase net earnings.

How K can boost your yields and your bottom line.

Nutrient ROI Calculator

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February 16, 2015

Research Shows Midwest K Levels Severely Low

Dr. Fabian Fernandez, along with roughly thirty volunteers, sampled nearly 600 Illinois fields in 52 counties to determine soil fertility levels. What they found was alarming. Nearly 45% of fields surveyed fell below the critical level for potassium. What’s more, Dr. Fernandez points out his findings highlight a problem most likely plaguing the entire Midwest – one that may dramatically impact spring development and fall yields.

February 16, 2015

Three Tips for Spring Planting

The last two years have been phenomenal for crop production. Keep the momentum going early by following these three basic, yet very important, planting tips.

1) Don’t underestimate the value of starter fertilizer  2) Implement a balanced fertility program  3) Don’t rush to plant fields that aren’t ready

January 29, 2015

How K Can Help Maximize Photosynthate, and Ultimately, Yields.

We all remember photosynthesis from our grade school science days, but the importance of this process can’t be understated. It is perhaps the single most important factor in the development of a plant, especially in spring. And potassium is the element that keeps it all running smoothly.

Adequate K nutrition allows a plant to efficiently capture sunlight to maximize photosynthate

Radiant energy CO2 H2O CO2+H2O+radiant energy = C6H12O6  More C6H12O6 = Increased plant size and increased yield

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January 29, 2015

Starter Fertilizers:
A Minnesota Researcher’s Perspective

Interview with Fabian Fernandez, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Soil, Water and Climate, University of Minnesota

Listen to Dr. Fernandez talk nutrient application timing and starter placement methods, including their effects on yield.

January 29, 2015

Starter Fertilizers:
An Iowa Researcher’s Perspective

Interview with Antonio Mallarino, Professor of Agronomy, Iowa State University

Dr. Mallarino, who specializes in nutrient management, talks about the conditions that make the most sense for applying starter in Iowa and the North Central region.

January 29, 2015

Starter Fertilizers:
An Ag Retailer’s Perspective

Interview with Doug Winter, Pioneer Sales Rep, Mill Shoals, IL

Hear from a seed sales rep on how using starters can limit your weather and soil condition variables, and why he recommends talking to your local input suppliers.

January 29, 2015

Starter Fertilizers:
A Southern Illinois Farmer’s Perspective

Interview with John Scates, Shawneetown Farmer and CCA

Learn why this fifth generation family farmer uses starters, including the benefits to his racehorse corn hybrids and how they’ve helped him increase his yields.

August 21, 2014

The Top 5 Reasons to Apply Potassium this Fall

There may not be a big agronomic difference between applying potassium in the fall or the spring, but from an economic standpoint, fall application could yield the best results in more ways than one. In this video, University of Minnesota’s Dr. Fabian Fernandez joins Dr. Robert Mullen in detailing the top five reasons why fall-applied potassium may make the most logistical, practical and financial sense for your operation.

1) Logistically more manageable, 2) Less soil compaction, 3) Ideal for deep tillage, 4) Less runoff, 5) Product availability

August 18, 2014

4 Tips for Applying Potassium this Fall

Whether this is your first year applying potassium in the fall or your 50th, these four tips will ensure you get the best economic return from your fertilizer investment.

1. Apply before tillage, 2. Avoid applying on frozen ground, 3. Use Nutrient Removal Calculator, 4. Use soil tests to guide fertilization

August 15, 2014

Are You Among the Many Who Need More K than Current Benchmarks Indicate?

University-established critical levels have been instrumental in guiding fertilizer decisions to maximize yields. However, many of those critical levels were determined 10 to 20 years ago and, therefore, don’t take into consideration the potassium demand rates of today’s new hybrids, varieties and production practices. It’s important to assess your operation, what you grow and what your potassium needs are to ensure you apply the K needed this fall to maximize yields next fall.

if you’re using new hybrids, varieties or practices, you may need a lot more k than you might think.

More K Needed Over Life Cycle

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June 19, 2014

Fertilization: Comparing The Maintenance Approach vs.The Sufficiency Approach.

Virtually everyone in the industry agrees that fertilization is required when soils fall below the critical level for P and K. But that’s where the consensus ends. The real debate begins when determining a course of action for fields right at that critical level. Fertilize? Or not to fertilize? In this video, Dr. Robert Mullen explains the difference between the Maintenance and Sufficiency Approaches to fertilization and offers his opinion on what method he recommends to ensure farmers get the most out of their fields.

When fields reach critical levels for P and/or K, farmers are faced with two choices:

The Maintenance Approach

Action: Fertilization is required.

Result: Nutrient application ensures the entire field is above the critical levels for P and K, thereby maximizing yields.

The Maintenance Approach

The Sufficiency Approach

Action: No fertilization required.

Result: Although the field has an average at or above the critical level, some areas of the field may still fall below the critical level. Therefore, the farmer risks yield loss in order to save on nutrient costs.

The Sufficiency Approach

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April 1, 2014

How to Recognize Nutrient Deficiencies Just by Looking.

Assessing a soil for nutrient status in a laboratory can be a good way to determine whether it has the fertility needed to support optimum growth, but visual assessment of the crop can also tell you a lot about your soil. Being aware of what to look for can help you catch a problem before it impacts your yield and your bottom line. In this video, Dr. Robert Mullen reveals some of the most identifiable visual cues of nutrient deficiencies in both grasses and broadleaves.

Think your crop might be deficient in P or K? Here’s what to look for.

P or K deficiencies

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March 23, 2014

Testing for Potassium: Comparing the Dry Soil Test to the Moist Soil Test.

For decades, the common method for testing soil for potassium has been to dry samples prior to analysis. However, research conducted by Iowa State’s Dr. Antonio Mallarino reveals testing moist soils may be more accurate when estimating the availability of potassium for crops and the need for fertilization. This eye-opening research may change how soil tests are conducted in the future, and may ultimately help farmers make better business decisions.

Dry Vs. Moist Soil Test

Research indicates the Moist Soil Test may show better relationships between soil test results and yield response. Translation? the Moist Soil Test may be more accurate in determining how much potassium is in the soil.

Dry Vs. Moist Soil Test

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March 1, 2014

Using K to Suppress Pests and Pathogens

Robert Mullen, Director, Agronomy, PotashCorp

We all know how valuable K is in maintaining crop nutrition, but it may also help crops build up tolerance against pests and pathogens. Studies show that K for plants works much like vitamins for humans in improving overall health - meaning K may not prevent plants from getting sick or infested, but it can drastically improve their resistance to fungi, insects, pathogens and nematodes. Robert Mullen explains how this boost in tolerance can help boost yields, and ultimately your bottom line.

Aphids Per Plant

Aphids Per Plant

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September 10, 2013

Fall Tips: 4 Steps to Achieving the Ideal Soil Sample

Soil sampling isn’t exactly everyone’s idea of a good time, but it is the single most important guide to the profitability of your fertilizer investment and crop production. However, soil analysis is only as good as the samples that are collected, so it’s imperative that proper techniques be used to collect them. This video outlines the four most important tips to consider when soil sampling this fall.

Step 1: Use clean sampling tools. Step 2: Sample at consistent depths. Step 3: Collect enough cores. Step 4: Thoroughly mix cores.

September 6, 2013

Fall Tips: Using the Nutrient Removal Calculator with Special “Economic” Feature

Think of the new eKonomics Nutrient Removal Calculator as the upgraded version of similar tools you may have used in the past. Like traditional calculators of its kind, simply enter your crop and your yield to determine the amount of N, P and K being removed from the soil – classified into two categories: “With Stover” and “Without”. The eKonomics Nutrient Removal Calculator takes it to the next level with an exclusive “economic impact” feature. It reveals the dollar value associated with the nutrients being removed, making it easier than ever to determine how much to invest in fertilizer to maximize profits. Check out the video to see how it works.

The Nutrient Removal Calculator

The Nutrient Removal Calculator

Nutrient Removal Calculator tutorial

September 4, 2013

Fall Tips: Harvesting Stover Means You’re Removing Potassium...and Lots of It.

The onset of bioenergy has created a wonderful opportunity for farmers to harvest and sell stover for use in cellulosic ethanol. However, there’s a catch. Recent research conducted at Iowa State indicates that the removal of stover will dramatically lessen the amount of potassium that’s returned to the soil. Translation? Farmers harvesting stover will need to invest in up to three times more potassium to maintain the optimum nutrient levels necessary for maximizing profits. In this video, Iowa State’s Dr. Mallarino explains his research and findings.

Return of K to the Soil

The amount of K lost from physiological maturity, to grain harvest, to residue is significant.

Return of K to the Soil

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August 6, 2013

Are Your Hybrids Getting Enough K?

Due to biological advancements over the last 50 years, hybrid yields have reached levels never achieved. But with greater yields, researchers have found a significant drop in soil nutrient levels to near or below critical. Dr. Paul Fixen of the International Plant Nutrition Institute shares recent research on the importance of K to new hybrids.

Average K Uptake Across Six Hybrids

New hybrids have an amazing rate of absorption compared to older varieties.

Average Uptake Across Six Hybrids

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July 15, 2013

US Agriculture and Soil Fertility Trends

Robert Mullen, Director of Agronomy, PotashCorp and Jeff Holzman, Director of Market Research, PotashCorp

The past five years have been a turbulent time for the global economy, but agriculture has remained a sector of strength – in large part due to rising demand for commodities, higher crop prices, and above all, improvements in farm productivity. However, statistics indicate that productivity may drastically be impacted if soil test levels for phosphorus and potassium continue declining at their current rate. And with populations increasing and diets improving, the implications of continuing to draw down nutrient levels will become even more critical.

Read Full Research Article

US Potash Application and Crop Removal

Application rates have not kept pace with crop removal

US Potash Application and Crop Removal

June 28, 2013

Prepare for Drought Conditions with Proper Nutrient Management.

Results from a long-term P- and K- rate study on a corn/soybean rotation showed a dramatic response to elevated K levels as a means of combating drought effects on yields.

Yield Response to Elevated K in a Drought Year

During drought conditions, fields with elevated K levels,on average, achieved 80 bu/acre more of corn and 15 bu/acre more of soybean.

Yield Response to Elevated K in a Drought Year

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June 3, 2013

Are You Among the Many Leaving Money in Your Fields?

Thanks to advances in technology, farmers have consistently increased yields in the last 15 years. But fertilizer applications have remained constant, causing many fields to drop below the critical levels for P and K. What are the business implications to you?

Declining Soil Test Levels

Potassium hybrid model for soybean and corn

Declining Soil Test Levels

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June 3, 2013

How Midwestern Farmers Can Achieve Thousands More in Net Profits in 2013.

Dr. Robert Mullen uses an average size Iowa farm of 333 acres to illustrate how a sound investment in potassium could generate an economic return of $73/acre — which calculates to almost a $24,000 increase in net profit. See how this research could help improve your bottom line.

Potential Net Profit Increase By Investing In K

Potential Profits Increase By Investing In K

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June 3, 2013

Get the Most Out of Your N Investment with Improved K Nutrition.

When most farmers think about potassium nutrition, they only consider the yield improvement they can achieve by making that investment. But as Dr. Robert Mullen points out, ensuring you have adequate potassium for your crops may also increase the return you get from your nitrogen fertilizer investment.

Interaction Between K and N

Interaction Between K and N

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