RealAg Radio Product Spotlight: Smart Nutrition™ MAP+MST® With Dr. Cristie Preston

Nutrien Senior Agronomist Dr. Cristie Preston recently spoke with RealAg Radio and Shaun Haney about the new Smart Nutrition™ MAP+MST® fertilizer product. Jump to 17:40 in the clip to listen to the interview or read Dr. Preston’s answers below.

Smart Nutrition™ MAP+MST® is a new product on the market for growers this year. Can you tell us a little bit about this product, how it is different from traditional forms of MAP and sulfur?

Smart Nutrition™ MAP+MST® is a co-granulated fertilizer product in which we’ve taken molten elemental sulfur as micronized sulfur technology (MST) and we’ve introduced that into our MAP (monoammonium phosphate) manufacturing processes. We’ve created this homogeneous granular product that carries a fertilizer grade of 9-43-0 with 16 percent sulfur.

How is Smart Nutrition™ MAP+MST® different from traditional forms of MAP and sulfur?

It differs because instead of being a specialty product that has a layering process where we introduce the molten sulfur into the MAP manufacturing process, we’re able to evenly distribute the sulfur within the MAP granule. This allows for maximum soil to fertilizer contact and therefore could potentially increase crop availability earlier in the season.

The technology behind Smart Nutrition™ MAP+MST® is quite unique. Explain micronized sulfur technology to us.

There are several misconceptions behind elemental sulfur. If you buy elemental sulfur as a granular product it will take months, and potentially years, to become plant available because that elemental sulfur has to be oxidized before the plant can utilize it. With the micronized sulfur technology, we have been able to micronize that elemental sulfur to an average particle size of 15 micron. When you decrease particle size you increase the surface area and therefore increase your potential for oxidation. Quicker oxidation means it is available to the plant earlier.

What are some of the key benefits of this technology from a crop production standpoint?

Some of the key benefits of this new fertilizer are the evenly distributed sulfur within the particle. It is not a layering process, so we don’t have to wait for the outer layer to break down for other nutrients to be available for maximizing soil and fertilizer contact. This means the nutrients have the potential to be available earlier on. At the same time, this is a slow release fertilizer in which the oxidation rates will take a bit of time, ensuring that the sulfur is available and not leached in certain environmental conditions like course texture soil. The sulfate isn’t leaching so it can be plant available later in the growing season.

What crops are responding best to Smart Nutrition™ MAP+MST® in your early trials and research?

Some of the crops that we’re seeing the greatest response to Smart Nutrition™ MAP+MST® are canola in the Canadian provinces and corn, soybeans and wheat within the U.S. Most of these crops require higher amounts of sulfur to maximize production, so those are the crops where we would see the most sulfur response.

Why did Nutrien determine the need for this product, and how does it compare to a more traditional blend?

There are several benefits of this fertilizer to the retailer and the farmer. We as Nutrien see it as a value-added to a traditional commodity. For a retailer we might potentially save them bin space because we’re offering a product that carries high nutrient value or nutrient concentration for both sulfur and phosphorus and that could be combined into one product and only take up one bin space at a retail location.

For farmers, that high nutrient analysis can potentially decrease the amount of fertilizer required for a farmer to reach certain application rates. At the end of the day that’s going to save them money, fuel, and application costs associated with fertilizer and overall tonnage needed to maximize yields.

Learn more about some of the myths surrounding Smart Nutrition™ MAP+MST®, including fertilizer characteristics and sulfur management practices. If you have any questions, reach out to us on Twitter, or Ask An Agronomist.

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