So the second half of my fertilizer mission last week took me to Northeast Colorado. A favorite part of that was calling on Retail Partner Aero Applicators in the town of Sterling run by Darrel Mertens and his wife Deb. I have known them for around eighteen years, as near as we could calculate.
They operate three Air Tractor 402 turbine powered application planes. They have been super busy this year. Now they are mainly spraying fungicides and insecticides on irrigated corn, plus some fungicide work on irrigated sugarbeets. They will often add a gallon of a foliar mix of half NResponse and half ferti-Rain. Here they are loading a plane in the early morning.
No doubt you have seen the wind turbines seemingly everywhere. Well they have made many parts of farming country unsprayable by aerial applicators. This particular field was in between two ranges of turbines. In addition to that there is an irrigation pivot across the field that you can see in the picture below. So pilot Roger said he was looking all around as he flew and made his turns on the end between passes. I would call that hazardous duty indeed. But he completed the job just fine. Aerial applicators are the best.
Later we were looking at a field where wheat had been harvested recently. It was next to a field of irrigated corn fed with AgroLiquid.
Look close and you can see some emerging cover crops, in this case radish, turnip and rapeseed. Well this is another service of Aero Applicators: aerial application of cover crop seed.
Back at the hangar Darrel showed me the three-way seed mix that they apply at a rate of around six pounds per acre.
They have been AgroLiquid dealers for quite a while and have a good customer base like this grower of irrigated corn and sunflowers. But it's still very competitive. We were reflecting that after so many years you would think there would be a line out the door every morning of customers, since the Liquid works so well in this area. But like I said, it's still competitive. (Mr. Cook and I used to wonder the same thing about the line of customers that there should be. But we keep after it.)
In addition to irrigated crops, there are a lot of dryland crops as well. Now here is where faith comes in, as many years this is a recipe for crop failure in dry NE CO. But rainfall has been generous this year and many dryland crops look great, like this corn that has AgroLiquid under it. They plant a low population like 12 to 14,000 and then fertilize for well under 100 bu/A. But the rain has raised the yield potential. The Pro-Germinator, Micro 500 and High NRG-N fertilizer is going to stretch that yield up to higher levels, even though less was put on. This field has caught quite a notice, and due to the low population, there are multiple ears per plant that should all mature.