How micronutrients are becoming an essential part of farm fertiliser practice

How micronutrients are becoming an essential part of farm fertiliser practice

More and more these days we hear about Specialty Fertilisers.

Not that long ago they belonged only within the realms of ‘specialty growers with specialty crops’. But no longer. Today they are being absorbed into the routines and fertiliser practices of large-scale broadacre farming enterprises growing essential cereal and pasture crops, as well as the fields and orchards producing fruits and vegetables. And this is an increasing world-wide trend with many countries across all growing regions becoming more educated and involved with crop nutrition as they manage the challenges of increased demand, low commodity prices and buffering the effects of climate and pests or disease.

A recent article titled Micronutrients Become Mainstream appeared in AgriBusiness Global (ref : Vol.30 No.8 Page 20 August 2016) in which the author expressed the view that manufacturers of micronutrients have seen their products go from the fringes of farming to the mainstream. The author also canvassed widely, and several views from significant agri-business companies about specialty fertilisers were made. They included, that :

  • “farmers are paying more attention to micronutrient deficiencies”
  • “newer plant varieties with higher yield potentials require more nutrients”
  • “growers are gaining a better understanding of the importance of micronutrients in maximising yield”
  • “no matter what part of the world you are in, a crop needs a balanced nutrition program”

Familiar Territory for RLF

This is a sector of the market that RLF is very familiar with – and in many ways it has pioneered the trace element sector of the liquid fertiliser market since 1991.

For the past twenty five years RLF has dedicated its research and development efforts to engineering specialty liquid fertiliser products that drive greater yield outcomes and healthier, better quality crops. These products include seed primers, broad-spectrum foliar sprays, nutrient chargers for plant parts and root boosting fertilisers. The results of in-house and on-farm trials and evaluations further validate the important role they play in optimising beneficial outcomes for both crop and the farmer’s bottom-line.

Results are the Key

RLF has always understood that proving the worth of its highly-specialised products is fundamental to its business.

When farmers experience first-hand, or can translate the trial data to their particular enterprises, the information being imparted holds greater efficacy and value. RLF’s Managing Director Ken Hancock says that “this has lead us down the path of greater education and ongoing information for our customers as we raise the profile and awareness of the benefits of a more balanced crop nutrition program. We can demonstrate very clearly that increased crop quality and yield benefits can be delivered through the use of our products”.

Continuing with the same fertiliser practices year after year often results in lower yield – and this reality is being experienced by more and more farmers today. So, finding solutions that will increase the yield and maximise spend on fertilisers therefore becomes an imperative for growers and farmers.

Specialty Fertilisers – the Modern-farming Future

Past practices have relied mostly on the application of NPK, meaning that the plant has had to find its own way to the micronutrients that it needs for healthy growth in the soil.

With sophisticated soil testing regimes now being used routinely by many farmers, it is becoming increasingly clear that soils are likely to be deficient in micronutrients such as zinc, boron, manganese and molybdenum. Specialty fertilisers within the RLF range of products bypass the soil and deliver the nutrient load directly to the plant through the leaf or directly into the seed.

RLF’s National Sales Manager Grant Borgward has recently spearheaded an educational campaign about the benefits of better, balanced crop nutrition and shared his own experiences as a farmer in a series of video presentations called Farmer to Farmer.

“Giving crops all the nutrients all the time has truly become my mantra when I talk with farmers” Grant said. “Understanding the uncertainties and difficulties created by paddock and soil variability is crucial, and by re-thinking how we allocate and spend our fertiliser budgets can make such a huge difference to final crop yield”. He went on to say “that there are many secondary benefits too which should not be undervalued, such as increased organic matter and the building of natural
soil fertility”.


It is apparent that momentum for the use of Specialty Fertilisers is building. Specialty Fertilisers bring major modern-
farming advances.

With better understanding and education of plant physiology, coupled with the higher nutrient needs of some higher-yielding new crop varieties there is growing demand for information and options available for farmers. RLF has a suite of 80 specialised liquid fertilisers for a wide range of trace element needs, and this may well expand as solutions are engineered for particular crop types and soil deficiency needs.

Farmers and growers need to be better educated about micronutrients.

A very important part of this learning curve is about maximising their budgets, their time and their routines because very real opportunities exist. RLF products are compatible with many commonly used crop protection products therefore applications can
be streamlined.

Although this segment of the agri-market is growing steadily, enormous potential still exists as micronutrients become an essential part of farm fertiliser practice.

Listen to what one of our customers has to say about using RLF specialty fertiliser products.


Rob Kitto farms on Erangy Springs Farm in the Midwest of Western Australian, near the regional centre of Geraldton. It is an 8,000-ha property and its primary crops are wheat, canola and lupins. The Kittos have used RLF products – specifically BSN Superstrike and Plasma Ultra Foliar – for over 15 years, and they cannot speak highly enough of the results they achieve through their program of Integrated Fertiliser Management (IFM). They have always been willing to share the success of their farm fertiliser strategies and RLF acknowledges them for this.