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Being smart with nutrients; Experts, area farmers gather in Dickinson to discuss spring crop growth

Press Photo by Dain Sullivan Tim Eyrich, micronutrient product manager for NutriSolutions, speaks to area growers about maximizing crop yields during the Southwest Grain Agronomy Winter Update at Dickinson's Ramada Grand Dakota Lodge on Tuesday.

Crop experts schooled area growers Tuesday during the Southwest Grain Agronomy Winter Update at Ramada Grand Dakota Lodge in Dickinson.

"With the advancements in technology and the different trades that are coming in...I think (growers) are just looking for the knowledge," said Southwest Grains Regional Manager Delane Thom. "We bring them in, try to educate them, give them some pre-spring education and get them ready for what's ahead of them."

Tim Eyrich, a micronutrient product manager for NutriSolutions, kicked off the event by dishing out facts on plant nutrients. He said a growers' main goal should be to produce plants that sprout, flower and pollinate with as little trouble as possible.

"Soil is a dynamic media," Eyrich said. "It's changing."

Eyrich added that it's often difficult for North Dakota farmers to make nutrient-related decisions for their crops, as the temperature tends to fluctuate.

"You don't start getting your highest uptake until you hit a soil temperature of about 80 degrees," he said. "When does that happen in Dickinson?"

Making sure growers get the "right nutrient, the right dollar, (at) the right time" was another idea Eyrich pressed upon his audience of area farmers and agronomists, who were seated in the hotel's Elkhorn room.

"You really got 17 nutrients to balance," he said. "It comes back to placement of my nutrient and understanding what I want that nutrient to do."

Eyrich also brought up issues that North Dakota farmers are facing. When dealing with the area's cold temperatures, he believes farmers could especially benefit from gibberellic acid.

"In your cold soils, it really helps that plant sprout and grow quicker," he said.

Eyrich also covered corn growth.

"You want all your corn up within 72 hours of each other," he said. "I want that emergence on my corn to be almost even all the way across."

Joel Schwartz, who farms north of Richardton, was particularly interested in picking up tips on protein.

"(Eyrich) gave more information about wheat protein," Schwartz said. "A lot of guys just say, 'Nitrogen, nitrogen, nitrogen.' So that was really interesting."

Chris Neff, a manager in training for Southwest Grain, was happy to snag a couple extra tips for his profession. He traveled from Iowa to attend Tuesday's event.

"This was a really good learning experience," Neff said. "A lot of good information."

Some of the "take-homes" Eyrich wanted to instill involved gaining knowledge, understanding plant changes with growth stages and grasping the relationship between certain nutrients. But in the end, he said there are no guarantees when working with plants.

"How does a plant reason? It doesn't," Eyrich said. "A plant does not care about your profit and loss statement; it does not

care about turn on investment; it doesn't care that you promised your wife a seven-day Caribbean cruise when it's minus 25 in North Dakota."