Nutrient-use Efficiency

That's SQM North America's MO
1/10/2013

Editor's note: The June issue of Superintendent magazine features a special report on golf and sustainability. "Driving Sustainability" comprises a 32-page supplement. We were fortunate to have 13 advertisers/sponsors involved in the supplement to make it possible and to help educate superintendents about sustainability. We asked the sponsors to share their philosophies about sustainability as it pertains to their products. It's clear these companies take sustainability very seriously and are committed to its economic, environmental and social components. While their stories appeared in the June issue, we're also sharing them in this newsletter. Today, a look at SQM North America.

SQM North America's MO is to be as efficient as possible. In this day and age of shrinking golf course maintenance budgets, that marching order is music to superintendents' ears.

Atlanta-based SQM offers a water-soluble fertilizer line called Bulldog. A common phrase currently in superintendent circles is "nutrient-use efficiency." Bulldog fits that bill, says Sam Carruth, SQM North America's sales and business development manager of specialty plant nutrition.

"The line gives applicators the flexibility to easily adhere to the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Program, which consists of applying the right nutrient source, at the right rate, in the right place and at the right time," Carruth notes.

With water-soluble fertilizer, the idea is to be efficient with water and nutrients, Carruth says.

"Apply them at the same time and in small amounts - and not make wasteful applications," he adds, noting that superintendents also save on energy and labor when applying them simultaneously.

SQM embraces a balanced nutritional approach, so not one nutrient is over-applied, under-applied or not applied at all.

"The turf gets the nutrients it needs when it needs them," Carruth says.

SQM also preaches preciseness, as in a precise application of nitrogen in small amounts weekly and usually in combination with a fungicide. He calls it pulse feeding.

"When you replace nitrogen at the rate of its removal of the clippings in the turf, then you're minimizing runoff and that, in, turn minimizes environmental impact," Carruth adds.

Carruth says it can be assumed that golfers would rather not overpay for rounds because of inefficiencies related to a golf course's maintenance program.

"If a superintendent can maintain a good looking course and also be efficient with his costs, that's a win-win for both sides," he says.

Another slogan from SQM related to Bulldog is to "make every drop count."

"It's necessary to be more efficient with nutrients or we will continue down a path of less-sustainable products," Carruth says.