How fertilizer programs featuring EEFs can support golf course BMPs
Enhanced efficiency fertilizers (EEFs) have become known for their performance over the years. Today, researchers are finding that these fertilizers also offer numerous benefits from the environmental stewardship perspective. Furthermore, EEFs provide economic advantages that can make a significant, positive impact for any superintendent who’s trying to maintain optimum playing conditions on a budget. All of these factors are important in the golf course maintenance industry, where the concept of “best management practices,” or BMPs, has come to the forefront over the past few years.
“By definition, BMPs are ‘methods or techniques found to be the most effective or practical means to achieve an objective,’” says Eric Miltner, Ph.D., research agronomist for Koch Turf & Ornamental (Koch). “That can include preventing or minimizing nutrient loss while making optimum use of your available resources. And that’s where I think fertilization and nutrient management practices really come into play for golf course superintendents.”
The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) has challenged every state to create its own golf course BMPs by the year 2020. Even so, it’s up to superintendents and their crews to determine what practices work best for them based on their available resources –including budget, labor, equipment – and even the attitudes and perspectives of the course’s management.
“There’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach to BMP development,” Miltner says. “Some superintendents are currently involved, or have been involved, with their states’ efforts to come up with standardized BMPs. Those state BMPs can act as a boilerplate of sorts that every golf course in the area can customize to fit its unique situation. From there, it’s really important to write down your unique BMPs, because they can serve as a valuable tool for course management.”
A few years ago, the Fertilizer Institute, along with other industry organizations, developed the “4Rs of Nutrient Stewardship,” which is a guideline for anyone tasked with efficient fertilizer use.
“The 4Rs are a great resource for both states and golf course superintendents to work from as they develop their BMPs with regards to fertilizer use,” Miltner says. “Applying the right source at the right rate at the right time in the right place actually gives them a sort of matrix of options to help establish a fertilizer program that’s agronomically and nutritionally sound, as well as environmentally sensitive.”
Miltner and his colleague, Andy Drohen, Koch’s senior regional sales manager, and Scott Ramsay, CGCS, superintendent for Yale Golf Club sat down together recently to discuss how Koch’s enhanced efficiency fertilizers can be the basis for a customized fertilizer BMP program. The resulting webinar provides a wealth of information that superintendents can apply to their own golf courses.
Watch the webinar