Do your research when choosing a micronutrient

Be skeptical of hype about micronutrients and only use them when they make economic sense, says Rigas Karamanos, manager of Agronomic Solutions for Viterra in Calgary.

“When a product is registered with CFIA, that means the company that sells the product bothered to do 12 experiments in Canada,” Karamanos told attendees at the recent Agronomy Update event in Red Deer.

“Sixty per cent of them have to work. We’re talking about 12 experiments, in which seven showed a positive result.”

Producers who want to find out if their micronutrient is registered can go on to the CFIA website and check the registered product list.

But the key is that fertilizers need to be applied at the right source, in the right place, at the right time and at the right rate, said Karamanos, who participated in the annual Canadian Fertilizer product forum.

“I stand on record in that particular forum as saying that all products are good, as long as they are used properly,” he said.

He advised producers to ignore hype and see if there is scientific research done on the products.

“Don’t trust testimonials because they are anecdotes. They are stories, not scientific data,” he said.

Karamanos told his audience to remember that agronomic conditions vary by region, and a product that works well in one location may not in another.

“Micronutrients should be used when their application results in an economic benefit to the farmer,” he said, adding those benefits have to be measurable increases in yield and quality.

About the author

Reporter

Alexis Kienlen lives in Edmonton and has been writing for the Glacier FarmMedia publication, the Alberta Farmer Express, since 2008. Originally from Saskatoon, Alexis is also the author of two collections of poetry, a biography, and a novel called "Mad Cow."

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