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National Seed

August 2018 NEWS

The Salt Story—2018/19 Shortage

As I sit here enjoying a beautiful 80 degree day in mid July, it's ironic to be talking about salt.  Actually, if you are in the "salt business"or are a snow contractor or property manager it's late to be talking about salt.  Here in Michigan and the Midwest we are only 4 months away, or less some years, from our first snow and/or ice event. It should be important for us to know: who we are working for?  Who is working for us? Do we have enough equipment? And where are we buying salt and how much will it cost this year?

In an effort to share, the following is the basic story of salt in the Midwest markets...
According to some research we can all find out there on a Google search; there is about 10 million tons of salt that are sold into this region and its outskirts annually.  There are about 4 main providers, one at about 1 million tons, one at about 3 million tons, and a couple others that make up another 6 or 7 million tons. There are a few other salt companies that don't own mines (at least in the US or Canada) and they import salt from other countries, such as Egypt, Chile, United Kingdom, Morocco and others.  This combination of providers work to win bids and win relationships to sell salt into all of our cities, towns and local markets.

Our government gets first dibs to put out requests for proposals to get quotes for the upcoming season.  This process starts typically in May and can linger through the summer. Just like any company managing their inventory or capacity of sales, the salt companies are trying to win some government bids, to sell off some of their inventory / production capacity.  Therefore the salt companies really don't know how successful they have been at selling their inventory till most or all of the public bidding and bid acceptance process has taken place

After this round of sales, there is some salt released to be sold direct from the top salt companies to contractors or to large resellers/brokers of salt.  The pricing available to this round of buyers is higher than that of the pricing offered to our state and local governments.
Once this round is achieved, the smaller contractor, one without a place to buy and store a season's worth of salt or at least a sizable portion or a seasons salt, well they must rely on the local supply yard to have salt for them a few tons at a time throughout each event, all season long.  As you might imagine, each layer has a cost increase and a risk increase. The sooner we all find and secure a salt deal to meet our needs the better off we will be going into winter, negotiating contracts and sharing this process with the end users. . .our clients. I strongly urge you to "educate yourself and educate your clients" on the process of procuring salt.  Knowledge is always powerful and helpful.

Look Out for Herbicide Resistant Weeds in Turf

2,4-D resistant buckhorn plantain.

Ten things YOU should know about herbicide resistant weeds

  1. Herbicide resistant weeds are in turf and not just crop fields
  2. It is the tough to control weeds that are often developing resistance
  3. Few new herbicides coming to market to help control resistant weeds
  4. We aren't currently doing a good job rotating the mode of action for herbicides/PGRs
  5. Preemergence herbicides are a tool to help control resistant weeds but they may not be labeled for sites with resistant weeds
  6. Preemergence herbicides don't always help to control the weed (example: perennial weeds)
  7. Cultural practices only help so much to reduce weed populations
  8. Resistant weeds will spread by mowing, aerification, pollination, etc.
  9. Low herbicide rates – to save $ - increase resistance development rate
  10. Turf injury from herbicides may need to be tolerated to control resistant weeds

Bottom line is this:

  • Resistant weeds are a problem now, but luckily we don't have too many in Midwest turf yet.
  • Turf managers will need to increase their knowledge of herbicide mode of action and increase their rotation of these various herbicide modes of action in the future to prevent weed resistance from developing just as they currently rotate fungicide mode of action in order to reduce the likelihood of developing fungicide resistance.
  • For more information on this topic, I suggest you read a helpful publication on preventing and managing herbicide resistant weeds by my colleague Dr. Jay McCurdy at Mississippi State University linked here.
  • If you suspect you have an herbicide resistant weed, please contact me (

Dr. Aaron Patton 
Turfgrass Extension Specialist

New product

Sure Power™ Selective Herbicide


Control the Uncontrollable.
Sure Power™ is a new standard in herbicide power, providing swift early-season and late-season control to strike down challenging broadleaf weeds. In fact, broad-spectrum Sure Power is proven to produce excellent control of ground ivy and wild violet. Its four-way formulation manages more than 250 broadleaf weeds, making Sure Power a valued tool in the pursuit of clean cool-season turf. 

Fast and Effective Selective Herbicide

  • Outperforms the competition in ground ivy and wild violet control
  • Proven efficacy on more than 250 broadleaf weeds
  • Ideal for early- and late-season application
  • Rainfast after one hour
  • Rapid knockdown with visible results starting in 2-3 days
  • First flumioxazin formulation for cool-season turf
  • Group 4 and 14 herbicides support resistance management
  • Easy-to-use, reduced-odor formulation

Proven Efficacy On Challenging Weed Issues

  • Ground ivy
  • Wild violet
  • Clover
  • Dandelion
  • Black medic
  • Plantain

Key Uses

  • Fescue species, Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass
  • Non-turf areas
  • Ornamental lawn and turf (Industrial, institutional, residential)
  • Sod farms

Please contact Kevin if you would like more information: / Mobile 630-903-5240

Here are eight stories you may not be familiar with, about companies you've most definitely heard of.

The Pierre Omidyar way. 
In 1995, a computer programmer started auctioning off stuff on his personal website. AuctionWeb, as it was then known, was really just a personal project, but, when the amount of web traffic made it necessary to upgrade to a business Internet account, Omidyar had to start charging people fees. He actually hired his first employee to handle all the payment checks. The site is now known as eBay.  

The John Ferolito and Don Vultaggio way. 
Back in the 70s, a couple of Brooklyn friends started a beer distributor out of the back of an old VW bus. Two decades later, after seeing how well Snapple was doing they decided to try their hand at soft drinks and launched Arizona Green Tea. Today, Arizona teas are #1 in America and distributed worldwide. The friends still own the company.   

The Matt Maloney and Mike Evans way. 
When a couple of Chicago software developers working on lookup searches for got sick of calling restaurants in search of takeout food for dinner, the light bulb went off: Why isn't there a one-stop shop for food delivery? That's when the pair decided to start GrubHub, which went public last April and is now valued at more than $3 billion.  

The Joe Coulombe way. 
After operating a small chain of convenience stores in southern California, Joe Coulombe had an idea: that upwardly mobile college grads might want something better than 7-11. So he opened a tropical-themed market in Pasadena, stocked it with good wine and booze, hired good people, and paid them well. He added more locations near universities, then healthy foods, and that's how Trader Joe's got started.  

The Howard Schultz way. 
A trip to Milan gave a young marketer working for a Seattle coffee bean roaster an idea for upscale espresso cafes like they have all over Italy. His employer had no interest in owning coffee shops but agreed to finance Schultz's endeavor. They even sold him their brand name, Starbucks.

The Phil Robertson way. 
There was a guy who so loved duck hunting that he chose that over playing pro football for the NFL. He invented a duck call, started a company called Duck Commander, eventually put his son Willy in charge, and that spawned a media and merchandising empire for a family of rednecks known as Duck Dynasty.

The Konosuke Matsushita way. 
In Japan in 1917, a 23-year-old apprentice at the Osaka Electric Light Company with no formal education came up with an improved light socket. His boss wasn't interested so young Matsushita started making samples in his basement. He later expanded with battery-powered bicycle lamps and other electronic products. Matsushita Electric, as it was known until 2008 when the company officially changed its name to Panasonic, is now worth $66 billion.

The Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs way. 
While they had been friends since high school, the two college dropouts gained considerable exposure to the computer world while working on game software together on the night shift at Atari. The third Apple founder, Ron Wayne, was also an Atari alumnus.

Contact your sales rep for more information

Tom Breier:
(630) 417-9054

Tim Breier:
(630) 417-9056

Dan Breier:
(630) 417-9055

Mark Breier:
(630) 417-9057

Kevin Spiller:
(630) 903-5240

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