Curt Lahr, Regional Agronomy Sales MN/ND
While adding carbon to your traditional fertility program is not necessarily a new concept for many fertilizer programs, not all fertilizer suppliers have really embraced it yet. However, QLF Agronomy’s Liquid Carbon-Based Fertilizer (L-CBF) dealers not only embrace our carbon-based approach, but promote L-CBF as the base fertilizer program. One of those successful dealers is Nate Ide of “Ide Seed and Fertilizer” in Lester Prairie, MN.
Nate Ide and his sons, Mike and Phil farm 2,000 acres and run a successful and “growing” seed and fertilizer business. The Ide’s began using our L-CBF BOOST back in the Year 2019, starting with 9 ton (~1620 gallons) on their own fields. They tried another full truckload (24 tons) of BOOST in 2020 season and were convinced that there was something to this carbon concept. They began their QLF Agronomy dealership in the year 2021 and sold 117 tons, adding and offering to their customers more L-CBF product options such as QLF’s starter L-CBF 7-21-3 MKP, foliar nitrogen formula L-CBF Amino15, and the organic approved option L-CBF TerraFed. For this present 2022 year, Ide Seed and Fertilizer business has over a 330% growth.
I recently had a chance to talk with Nate about his experiences and thoughts on the QLF Agronomy’s L-CBF products. He told me that he had heard about using sugar before, but never really gave it much thought until he came to a local producer meeting where I talked about the Quality Liquid Feeds relationship with the Louisiana sugar cane growers and having a consistent supply of sugar cane molasses. He went on to say that hearing about the other nutrients that come with the cane molasses, particularly the phytochemicals from the plant sap, and not just the sugar portion is what made him decide to give us a try. Because Nate also does some custom spraying for his customers and the fact that we were also able to prove the benefits that L-CBF products can aid in providing drift control from our trials in wind tunnel studies (at University of Nebraska), this was another reason for him to try BOOST.
Nate started trying BOOST on his own acres first. While he felt he saw some differences early on he wasn’t fully convinced yet. The following year is when he was convinced there was something to QLF Agronomy’s L-CBF products and program. After purchasing more volume and adding BOOST to a competitor’s starter package in furrow on both his own acres and more of his seed customer’s acres, Nate could measure and see positive results.
When asked for his thoughts about partnering with QLF Agronomy as a company, he stated that what he likes is the “Servitude” he receives from QLF, as he calls it “the attitude of good service.” Along with that, the fact that we aren’t just satisfied to settle on what we have, but continue to strive to make it better. That is what makes him excited about working with QLF Agronomy, and because of that, he no longer handles the competitor’s fertilizer.
Nate has visited our Agronomy Research Center (ARC) and the QLF Office in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. He is very enthusiastic about where his QLF Agronomy dealership is heading. He’s been 110% on board in promoting and building his business from his successes with the L-CBF products. He has made some personal investments of his own enrolling in programs and services through Agronomy 365 from Next Level Ag consulting, utilizing radio advertising, and launching a website to help with his marketing efforts.
Nate entered the Minnesota Corn Growers High Yield contest this year with one of his customers, Ryan and Grady Jopp. They took Nate’s recommendation to use a fertility program using our L-CBF 7-21-3 MKP and L-CBF Amino15 as the base, and building on that with adding some other products to help with mineralization and plant uptake of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium and Micro nutrients. While they may not win the contest because of this year’s drought conditions in the area (Classed as a D2 area with only 5” of rain from planting until mid-August) they were very pleased with the 265-bushel yield and the Jopp’s are convinced that the L-CBF products played a major role mitigating the stress, allowing the plants to make better use of the fertility.
Ide Seed and Fertilizer credits success and growth from helping their customers understand what increasing the soil’s biological activity does for nutrient utilization, both mineralization and plant uptake. Another example Nate uses is a picture of soybean fields included with this article. These fields are side by side. The field on the right the grower is NOT using L- CBF products to enhance soil biology, while the neighboring field on the left is utilizing L-CBF products. When taking soil samples from both fields the potassium levels were very similar, yet the soybeans on the right are showing a potassium deficiency compared to L-CBF treated soybeans on the left where that field is dark green and healthy.
Nates motivation in this endeavor is to help his customers better understand what happens when they start to increase soil health and mineralization, helping them to be more profitable. Secondly, a major goal is to allow him have the seed and fertilizer business support himself, so his sons can eventually take over the farming operation. Giving him more time to prospect and follow up with customer’s that are using the products. He estimates he has L-CBF products on over 30,000 acres this year and should more than double the acres next year. His personal goal is to get to 100,000 acres and more.