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buying fertilizer?? Buy Smart!!

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by The Ranger, Mar 10, 2008.

  1. The Ranger

    The Ranger LawnSite Member
    from NE Ohio
    Posts: 208

    I am not sure how many conversations I have had related to this subject, but quite a few. When buying fert and comparing similar slow release pecentages, buy the most amount of N for the least price. If you are looking at a 25-?-? 50% and it cost you $14.00 it cost $1.12 per lb of N. If you compare that to a 34-?-? 50% product for $16.00 you are paying $.94 for every lb of N. Although these prices might not be accurate every time I have compared a 20% N to a 30% N the 30% product was always less. If you are buying a truckloasd that $.16 per lb of N will translate to a $2393 savings or a $108 per pallet over the cost of the N in the 25-?-? product. Buy smart, there are no benefits in buying a lower amount of N for more money just because you want to spread 4 lbs/M of fert compared to 3lbs/M with the 30% product.
  2. boats47

    boats47 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 244

    Interesting, I will have to check my prices this year. Saving 2000 is a dollar raise or a new piece of equipt.
  3. The Ranger

    The Ranger LawnSite Member
    from NE Ohio
    Posts: 208

    Our last purchase our N cost was $.72 lb for 50% product. Another local LCO paid $1.16 per lb of N for some 25-?-?. That is a whole lot of money when you buying in truckloads. At 17 lbs of N per bag that amounts to $7.48 per bag more for the 25-?-?and both products could sell for the same bag price.
  4. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Posts: 6,057

    I like the way you broke this down!

    We have talked about this on here but almost everyone looks at "price/bag" and never look at the "cost/N".

    Once you have two fertilizer sources with the EXACT same quality (ie %SCU, SGN, etc), cost/N is the only way you can compare prices.

    When you start comparing the "cost/bag" method....you are going to swrew up!
  5. ant

    ant LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,442

    good point ranger
  6. PHS

    PHS LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 724

    I like your approach too. I usually analyze it by cost/K which essentially is the same thing but your route is much more direct and makes comparison easier.

    I don't want to hijack the thread but this brought up a question I had the other day. If I'm fertilizing a Centipede lawn with a slow-release material at 0.5#N/application, would there be a benefit to using a lower analysis fertilizer in order to get better coverage (comparing a 15%N product to a 35%N product). The 15% I'm sure will cost more but at low rates would the results be a little better?
  7. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,697

    Unfortunately, there is more to a fert than just N. I compare the source of N, source of K, micros, SGN, etc. when buying a fert. I'm willing to pay more for a fert that has, let's say, SOP rather than MOP. It will mostly depend on the soil requirements of where the fert will be used.
  8. The Ranger

    The Ranger LawnSite Member
    from NE Ohio
    Posts: 208

    There is a problem spreading 30% N products lower than 3lbs of fertiilzer per M. Streaks, uneven etc. You can spread a 25-?-? @ 3/4lb N, (3 lbs of product) with good results, but lets look @ a 16-?-? product. To make the comparison simple lets say the product cost $16 per bag 50lb. Translates to $2 for every lb of N, and to get a lb of N you need to apply 6.25lb of product per M. You want to apply 1/2lb N so you apply @ 3lb of product per M. You are still at $1 per M in N costs. If you went up to the 25-?-? (50lb bag =12.5lbs. N) $16.00 per bag you could spread the product @ 3lbs per M, applying 3/4 lb. of N @ $.96 per lb. It all depends where the cost of the product is at the time of purchase. Nitrogen used to be the sole driver of a bag of fert. No more... P & K are very expensive and a low percentages of either can add another $1 or more to the bag of product.
  9. Mscotrid

    Mscotrid LawnSite Bronze Member
    from USA
    Posts: 1,456

    Ranger, obviously you have done your homework. I'm sure if you poll most of the old lawn dogs on this site you will find we buy all of are products based on price/bag coverage. we bid our properties based on square footage so it pays to know your actual on the ground cost. where i differ is explanation of actual N on the ground. Whether your spreading 46-0-0 @ 23K per bag at a 1lb N, 2.17 lbs actual product or a 28-?-? where you apply @ 14K per bag for 1lb N 3.5lbs actual, your prill count of N assuming SGN is the same, will be the same on the ground coverage. If your looking only at N whether 2.17 or 3.5lbs actual product the pure nitrogen in the bag is spread over the same area.

    The only difference is with the 28% product your loaded with filler and other nutrients. But the actual N is still a pound on the ground. The difference would be in the prill size to disperse the nitrogen on the ground. Unfortunately when going to a smaller prill you can expect too pay a little extra. With that being said anytime you can spread your key ingredient and get better actual coverage your result should reflect the application cost in the products performance features.

    This really pays dividends when apply a product with an Ai, such as Pre-E, Insecticide or fungicide and granular weed control.

    You were dead on with your buy quality nutrients and less filler. Just an add on to this thought assume your spreading 150k on an average day and you want to apply a 1lb rate of N. if you leave the shop with 24-?-? you would need 12-13 bags for that day. If you apply 34-?-? you would only have to load and haul 9 bags. With today's fuel prices I'd just soon haul 200lbs less product. it's not a huge difference but it's a saving if you do it everyday all year long.
  10. The Ranger

    The Ranger LawnSite Member
    from NE Ohio
    Posts: 208

    I base all my product comparisons @ 1lb of N per M rate. Using more gas carrying the extra 200lbs of product never crossed my mind, but over a years time it might be a lot more gas consumed. Great point. You would also be amazed how many LCO's buy on bag price and not on coverage. There are quite a few that don't know how to figure the number of lbs of NPK in the bag.

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