Compass Minerals is focused on developing holistic nutritional solutions for farmers across the Americas and as Dr. Ryan Bartlett, Vice President of Innovation and Product Development, points out that means everything from maximizing efficiencies that come from the N’s, P’s and K’s to feeding the crops the right microbes both through the soil and through the leaves.
“Our goal is to directly influence farmer growing practices through science,” said Bartlett. “In the world of agriculture R&D, the lion’s share of funding has consistently gone towards advanced breeding techniques, developing transgenics and crop protection products. We’re working to compound the gains realized with those innovations by developing similar advances in plant nutrition.”
That’s one of the main reasons Compass Minerals has expanded its research and development (R&D) capabilities with the opening of a new North American Innovation Center. The 14,000-square foot facility located in the Midwest Bioscience Research Park in Stilwell, Kansas, features a 3,400-square foot greenhouse, a growth chamber, and 14 acres of field trials.
This is the company’s second innovation center dedicated to support the development of plant nutrition technologies. The first center opened in Iracemopolis, Brazil, in 2017.
It’s that successful work their Brazilian counterparts achieved that the North American Innovation Center would like to emulate for growers up North and help them to achieve maximum genetic potential in their crops.
“We are pushing the yield boundaries year after year — and to enable that on a larger scale, we have to make sure that we are getting those crops the right nutritional products at the right physiological stage,” Bartlett said.
Bartlett said those are two questions Compass Minerals often fields from growers — what products should I use and when should I apply?
That’s why Compass Minerals encourages growers to sit down and take a holistic approach for the whole growing season.
“What is the fertility practice we are going to put on in the fall? Tillage practice? And really have a solid game plan. Obviously, Mother Nature is going to mess that up in some way or another throughout the season and having some backup strategies especially as it comes to plant nutrition is going to be key,” Bartlett said. “So, if you can’t get in and apply the right herbicide at the right time with the right point of nutrition agent, make sure you have a backup plan — let’s say if you are applying two stages later in a soybean crop, you can still get a nutritional on it at the right time.”