We can hopefully put 2023 behind us as we settle into summer and look forward to more temperate farming conditions in the coming months. Regarding soil moisture there was little definition between any of the seasons this year, whilst certainly winter temperatures reminded us of years past. The spring was late and mixed for many. That said, feed levels were on the most part OK. With constant rain we have seen good fertiliser volumes moving out of the store and onto farms. As farmers consider their options under tighter economic conditions Dickie Direct has the products backed by good people on the ground to get best results for your fertiliser dollar.
Since our last update fertiliser prices have fallen considerably as commodity prices pull back globally. After prices started to move upwards strongly in 2021, peaking in 2022 we have seen falls from the peak of up to 40% on some products. Dickie Direct’s lean supply model has enabled us to pass these price reductions on quickly. Bringing in higher analysis nutrients in the form of Triple Super, DAP, Sulphur 90, and RPR means we are well stocked for summer and autumn. Although the global market for nutrients has recently firmed we are focusing on cost controls and smart purchasing as our stocks continue to land through the coming months. If you have updated your budgets for the new year, noting higher interest costs and lower incomes, we would appreciate sitting down to discuss the advantages of considering Dickie Direct for targeted fertiliser advice in the seasons ahead.
With many clients having reduced their fertiliser spend over the last two years, combined with fertiliser prices that will be considerably lower in Spring we think it is time that we again start talking proactively about maintenance and capital applications, ensuring that farms remain in optimum range for their targeted level of production. We appreciate there is still some uncertainty with commodity prices and that there are other factors impacting budgets outside of our control. Our team of Area Managers look forward to helping you formulate a fertilser plan that fits in with your farm parameters.
Tom Dickie has recently joined Dickie Direct after 23 years in the fertiliser industry. Tom graduated from Lincoln University before farming in Taranaki and moving to the Central Plateau in 2000. Tom has extensive experience in nutrient advice, soils, supply chain, and sales management. Tom brings to Dickie Direct excellent communication skills and takes pride in building strong relationships with customers and industry. Tom will have a particular focus in growing our customer base in the greater Waikato region including the King Country and Bay of Plenty. With the recent addition of Jack Fordyce (CNI/Waikato Area Manager) we have a full and dedicated team in that region. Part of the growth in the area will be increasing our network of intermediaries enabling an efficient service direct to farm or your local carrier or spreader.
Jeremy and Zara continue to look after their regions in the Lower and Eastern North Island. Jeremy recently travelled with Charles to Egypt to meet our suppliers and see firsthand the facilities where we source many of our phosphate products. Zara continues to deepen her role as our technical sales lead whilst continuing post-graduate study towards her Master’s in Agricultural Science at Massey. This consistency of advice and service means we can challenge nutrient use and bring value to the table by ensuring we recommend the right nutrients and nutrient forms from the most cost effective and efficient products.
The entire Dickie Direct team look forward to getting stuck in as the new year rolls around, with the aim to ensure Dickie Direct clients optimise farm profitability through nutrient efficiency.
Large price shifts have seen a range of products regain their competitive edge in the market. Recent wetter seasons are also driving increased demand for a range of products as clients look to ensure they are getting maximum utilisation and return from their nutrient investments. Outlined below are a few products that we think are worth considering this season:
Triple Superphosphate: For those who are looking for a fast-acting phosphate source without the need for nitrogen then Triple Superphosphate is a great option. Not only is it a cost effective source of phosphate ex store, it contains 20.5% P which is considerably higher analysis than common alternatives. Leading to large savings in freight and application costs. Triple Superphosphate can be blended with Sulphur 90 in order to cater for annual phosphate and sulphur requirements.
DAP: A cost effective way to apply nitrogen and phosphate. A high analysis product resulting in less freight and application costs. Contains nitrogen in stable ammonium form resulting in less volatilisation than nitrogen applied in Urea forms.
Granulated RPR: Granulated RPR can be used as a primary source of phosphate or in conjunction with water-soluble phosphate forms to enhance short, medium, and long term phosphate responses. RPR is a cost-effective form of P and when used in the right situations can significantly enhance phosphate utilisation, driving a longer term response and reducing the requirement for liming.
DD Max Range: These are blends of water-soluble phosphate from Triple Superphosphate and citric-soluble phosphate from RPR. The blend of phosphate forms enhances the phosphate utilisation and extends the phosphate response. Farmers see the instant production lift from the water-soluble P while getting the medium to long-term production surety from the citric soluble P.
Urea PluS: With rainfall often coming hard and fast with changing weather patterns, using this novel product allows you to continuously top up your sulphate sulphur whilst enjoying the availability of urea N. With the strong price advantage of Ammonium Sulphate this is an all-round product for your nitrogen dressings.
Sulphur in the Soil Explained
The risk of low sulphur in soils this season is certainly something to consider. With lower use of maintenance fertilisers over the past 18 months we need to be mindful that it is not only the P inputs that have been reduced but also S. Farms with a proactive fertiliser history and above optimum P levels will be able to leverage off these higher levels. However, in many regions it will be a lack of S that will show as a limiting factor to N responses and ongoing production. With S being a relatively cheap nutrient, we don’t want to see it as a limiting factor. As a result, we are seeing increased demand for Ammonium Sulphate and Ammo blends with many also adding longer lasting elemental S into these blends.
In most regions elemental S should be applied once per annum with soil type and climate determining the rate. This elemental sulphur feeds the organic sulphur pool. Organic sulphur is then mineralised by the soil microbes into plant available sulphate. During wetter periods sulphate is leached out of the soil, during and directly after wet and/or cool periods the soil is less active and is not mineralising adequate amounts of sulphate to meet plant demand. This is why it is important, especially when applying N, to supplement existing organic sulphur with plant available sulphate. 15-20 kg/ha of sulphate will generally overcome short term deficiencies and ensure a maximum N response is achieved. As this sulphate is utilised and the soils warm up we will then have the organic S mineralising and coming through looking after longer-term S requirements.
Dickie Direct has joined forces with Precision Farming to seamlessly connect your farm with your agronomy advice, order management, spreading contractor, and proof of application records for your end of season recording:
- Effortlessly request spreads for Dickie Direct products directly from your digital map on the Dickie Direct Precision Farming portal, connecting you instantly with your trusted spreader.
- Automatically record proof of application from your spreader, ensuring accurate and reliable documentation to utilise in your fertiliser management, farm optimisation, and record keeping.
- Dive deep into your farm’s performance with detailed NPKS reports and insightful heat maps, giving you valuable insights to optimise your fertilisation strategies.
- Store your soil testing and keep paddock records alongside your spread information.
- Simplify your annual N-Cap reporting by effortlessly collating all your fertiliser applications in one place, saving you time and eliminating the stress of compliance.
- Connect up your full nutrient picture combining proof of application for your spray, organics, other fertiliser applications, effluent, irrigation and soil moisture records.
With increasing regulations Dickie Direct is ensuring that our customers stay compliant with spatial software that can integrate seamlessly with current market leaders in proof of placement and end to end data transfer.
Dickie Direct are also working alongside MyEnviro. MyEnviro offers a range of technical advisory services – enabling practical, on-farm action driven by your environmental data.
MyEnviro advisory services merges the power of the MyEnviro platform with the expertise of the MyEnviro team. In addition to supporting the development of the MyEnviro platform, the team of certified technicians and consultants provide:
- Facilitation (e.g. catchments and bespoke groups)
- Asset management services (e.g. Farm Environment Planning, Consenting support, Freshwater Farm Plan, Farm Mapping)
We will be expanding on the MyEnviro offering in our Autumn Update. For more information on the MyEnviro service offering please contact Toni Cottle on 0272267732.
Our team look forward to working closely with you and forming optimum fertiliser plans for the year ahead. We have the products, knowledge, and ideas to help you maximise production and returns.
Thanks for your support in 2023 and Merry Christmas from the team at Dickie Direct.
Charles Dickie and the Dickie Direct team