charge more for micronutients?

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by americanlawn, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,074

    I never said that you’re being simple. I said that your customers expect you to do whatever is needed. They don’t think that applying micronutrients to correct for deficiencies based on soil test is ‘above and beyond.’ Customers think that applying micronutrients to correct for deficiencies based on soil test is just part of the job – just the right thing to do. It’s not a liberal or conservative thing. When you order a Coke at a restaurant, do you expect to get ice with it (like ice is just part of the job), or do you see value in paying one price for Coke, then another price for the ice?

    When the guy at the brake shop installs the pads and mounts the caliper on its bracket, he tightens the bolts. Do you pay him extra to use a torque wrench and ensure that he has tightened them to the proper specifications? Probably not, even though research has shown that properly torque brake caliper bolts are safer than those not checked for torque. You don’t see your mechanic’s use of a torque wrench as being something extra – you see it as being the right way to do the job. Similarly, giving your customers’ lawns the nutrients they need is viewed as the right way to do the job. I don’t think many people would want to hire a company to apply only some but not all of the needed nutrients.

    I’m glad that you’re using sound science to make your applications. We need more folks in our industry to follow your lead. But, we just need to be careful how we position this for customers.
     
  2. FdLLawnMan

    FdLLawnMan LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,181

    Barry, adding organic matter to soil is a great thing. Unfortunately there are several hurdles to overcome. First, finding a good sources of compost is difficult in my part of the country that is both affordable & clean. I am fortunate that I have started to use the solids from the methane digesters that dairy farms use. I have put it on 3 smaller lawns, 5,000 Sq. Ft. or smaller. They were new lawns that had virtually no organic matter in them. It did turn them around where now they look great just being on my normal fertilization program, before, not so much. Second, the amount of compost needed is a real stumbling point. Applying a 1/4 inch of compost to a 5,000 Sq. Ft. lawn requires almost almost 4 Cubic Yards. Now to do it right you need to double aerate and spread it. To do this and make money you need the correct equipment and amortize it over enough jobs and have people want to pay for it.
     
  3. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,910

    Good ideas, Larry. Most companies do not include micronutrients. Years ago at Tru lean, we never used micronutrients, some rounds were urea only.

    As compared to adding iron or other micronutrients, correcting pH probably takes too much material. Lime or sulfur--would have to be a special treatment at extra cost. You would not want to include it on every lawn--but iron and micronutrients probably could be included in your standard solution, would not hurt even if the pH was already low enough.

    Can you include micronutrients at an affordable price? Can you prove it would help under some conditions?
     
  4. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Posts: 5,846

    Good stuff all. Especially the last post by Riggle (very good).

    Say you have 30 customers/300 customers/3000 customers >> how can a (successful) business ....make a personal appointment to diagnose every single lawn's deficiencies? Then there's this....

    Every lawn has differences in soil type, etc within the same property.

    Applying organic matter on top of the ground solves what? (I know where the roots are)

    The use of micro nutrients for plants (turf, trees, shrubs, herbaceous ornamentals, vegetables, flowers, etc) is becoming more common. I will be attending 3 seminars regarding micros during the next 4 weeks. Seems fertilizer manufacturers & land grant universities also see the need for this.
     
  5. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,938

    It is hard to go wrong adding iron, manganese, and then supplemental, not corrective rates of boron, copper, molybdenum, zinc to a soil that is alkaline. In most cases iron and manganese applied in such a way that grasses and ornamentals can use it is beneficial. I soil test because I cannot tell by looking or the neighborhood whether the soil is acid, alkaline, magnesium toxic, etc. The practice of moving soil from where it normally occurs is why and magnesium toxicity or a pH issue cannot be seen by the naked eye. Needing to use more straight NPK because of poor response because of the need for micronutrients is false economy and gets me later in terms of grass that needs more mowing. Sure, I can get grass green feeding it 1 lb of N per month from urea, it has been done by others. That grass also becomes that lawn that is not maintainable on a 7 day mowing schedule.
     
  6. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Posts: 5,846

    How about "Mesa" fertilizer from Lebanon??? Some folks swear it provides great color. 50/50 Nitrogen & sulfur?? Bob Bethel (Lebanon rep in photo) says it's the cat's meow. But I don't know what the cost per acre is?? Anybody ever use this? thanks

    001.jpg
     
  7. FdLLawnMan

    FdLLawnMan LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,181

    I believe that MESA includes ammonium sulfate. I did use it one year and had a lot of buildup on the impeller. I just have my own blends done now and they all include ammonium sulfate.
     
  8. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,074

    Of course Bob from Lebanon says it's the cat's meow -- he gets commission for you buying it! He would say that orange juice were the cat's meow if it meant he got a bigger paycheck!

    With company and distributor reps, believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.

    If you're relying on company and distributor reps, you're way behind the game.
     
  9. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Gold Member
    Male, from Ark
    Posts: 3,408

    I have used this and I had good results from it. But what MESA is is a blend of ammonium sulphate & methylene urea. These are readily available components that can be blended into any fertilizer. From what I have seen they tend to be in higher end products. Lebanon does things that can be done by any mfg but comes up with a catchy name (not the only ones who do this). While I liked the product I could not get it at a decent price so I had a different supplier blend an equivalent mix at a much better price. Become familiar withe the different sources of NPK and see if someone will custom blend you a fert. It worked for me.
     
  10. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Posts: 5,846

    Thanks guys. Agrium has never let me down, and I'm sure they offer something comparable. Zimco is another place we buy from. Most of our stuff comes from EC Grow (Eau Claire, WI). Once in a while Mears out of KS. We have never bought from Lebanon so far.
     

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