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In the green industry, positive working relationships are a must. Lawn care companies, golf course superintendents and grounds managers all need local distributors that they can trust. Rather than simply making a sale, the best distributors act as partners and consultants, developing customized solutions to help green industry professionals achieve the best possible results.
Wilbur-Ellis’s Agribusiness Division certainly tries to provide those consultative services to the green industry companies it serves. The distributor offers its customers a gamut of products and services, including pest diagnosis, yield monitoring, soil analysis, water management, regulatory issues guidance and nutrition. Wilbur-Ellis’s goal is to provide the most advanced technology available while maximizing its customers’ return on investment.
John Rom, branch manager for Wilbur-Ellis in Denver, CO, knows the importance of a trusted green industry consultant firsthand. His team of four sales representatives specialize in the golf, sports turf and municipal markets, providing what Rom refers to as “solution selling.”
“When it comes to fertilizer, we ask our customers how many applications a year they’d like to make, their end goals and what they’re trying to accomplish,” Rom explains. “We have established blends that we call our ‘stock inventory-type’ blends. If we have something that will fit a customer’s needs within our current line-up that’s great. If we don’t, we have the capabilities to create a product that will.”
Trusted, quality turf nutrition
Wilbur-Ellis purchases UFLEXX® and UMAXX® stabilized nitrogen fertilizers, DURATION CR® controlled-release fertilizer and XCU® slow-release fertilizer, all from Koch Turf & Ornamental (Koch). The company uses these enhanced efficiency products to develop customized blends that answer their customers’ unique needs and help them achieve their goals.
UMAXX and UFLEXX products contain a dual-inhibitor formulation that protects against all three forms of nitrogen loss – leaching, denitrification and volatilization. UMAXX is specially formulated for the golf market with up to 12 weeks of plant response while UFLEXX is formulated for the lawn and landscape markets with up to 8 weeks of plant response. DURATION CR relies on a patented and durable polymer-coated technology to gradually and efficiently release nutrients for weeks or even months. XCU provides gradual, steady nutritional uptake for up to 10 weeks of plant response, making it possible to cover more area per application with less fertilizer.
“We really appreciate the fact that so much research and development has gone into Koch’s fertilizer technologies,” Rom says. “In our business, it’s all about the quality of the products you sell, and with Koch, we know we’re getting the best fertilizer technology available on the market today. And, with all the different options available, we’re better able to provide the customized product that our customers will truly find valuable.”
Sustainability that makes sense
Wilbur-Ellis’s customers certainly want to achieve the best possible results on their golf courses and landscapes; however, they’re also more concerned about environmental sustainability than ever before. That’s another reason Rom and his team feel good about working with Koch Turf & Ornamental. While he says Colorado isn’t currently experiencing quite the same level of environmental pressure that Oregon, California or Michigan are, he believes that day is coming.
“Here, with Colorado’s pristine fishing waters, people are worried about mineral runoff from phosphorous or nitrogen leaching through the soil,” Rom says. “Koch’s DURATION CR and XCU technologies release nitrogen in a timely manner so that plants can uptake it. That makes these technologies more environmentally responsible with a low potential for nutrient leaching, denitrification, runoff or volatilization. As a result, we’re putting more of the controlled- and slow-release technology – the DURATION CR, the XCU – into our stock blends.”
Beautiful turf on a budget
Because Koch’s enhanced efficiency fertilizer technology can often be applied fewer times than competing products while offering even better results, it’s also a smart economic choice. By applying these fertilizers, golf course superintendents and other turf managers can still get beautiful, healthy turf without breaking their budgets.
“Years ago, when I got my start in the golf industry, we were already looking for ways to reduce our number of fertilizer applications,” Rom says. “Today, we have superintendents here in Colorado who are able to make just two applications per year with products like UMAXX and XCU and still get optimum results. Sometimes we work with public courses who need to stay within their budgets, and sometimes we work with high-end, private courses that have the money and resources – they just want to make more efficient use of their time. Now, we’re also seeing parks departments here in the Front Range gravitate toward these products for the same reasons.”
Unmatched industry support
Much like green industry professionals rely upon their suppliers as consultants, the sales representatives at Wilbur-Ellis rely upon Koch Turf & Ornamental’s agronomists and technical experts to answer questions and provide valuable insight.
“We have a relationship with Koch that goes beyond our sales rep,” Rom says. “We get the additional product education that we need to successfully develop blends at our own facility. We have personal relationships with multiple contacts there, including the agronomists. We can call them and say, ‘Hey, I need some help.’ That’s the type of support you can’t get from just any company.
“There are other fertilizer technologies available out there, but those companies don’t offer the quality products and the top-notch support we get from the folks at Koch Turf & Ornamental.”