New liquid fertilizer developed for use on organic farms

Organic farmers in need of a better way to fertilize crops now have access to liquid fertilizer.

Innovative Surface Solutions, with offices in New York and Ontario, recently released the first magnesium chloride-based fertilizer certified for use on organic crops.

AgMag is a single-source magnesium chloride product, meaning it's all natural, said Jeremy Schulz, agricultural sales manager for Innovative.

It has just been listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute in both Canada and the United States. AgMag is listed for use in certified organic production, food processing and handling according to the USDA National Organic Program Rule and Canadian Organic Standards.

Although AgMag is directly available through the company, producers can also order it at dealers in the Northeast.

"We are enlisting dealers as we speak," Schulz said Tuesday. "Right now we have CaroVail, Northeast Ag in Vermont, C.E. Crocker in Leroy, N.Y., and Ag Biotech in Lakeside, N.Y."

Schulz said a liquid magnesium chloride fertilizer gives farmers a chance to improve yield and quality in their crops. The company just completed its fourth year of trials for AgMag and Schulz said the fertilizer is an immediate source of magnesium, as opposed to dry fertilizers organic farmers have been limited to using.

"The chloride helps shepherd the magnesium through the plant," Schulz said. "Readily available magnesium is tough to find."

Schulz said most farmers use dry fertilizers like Epsom salts, but those take awhile to absorb into the ground and plants. Plus, the dry fertilizers are not readily available, he added.

With AgMag, the liquid will absorb faster and contains natural fungicidal properties to fight diseases that affect crops, he said.

Schulz said Innovative hopes to eventually offer AgMag further west in the United States. For now, it will only be offered in the Northeast.

"This is an important tool for organic farmers," Schulz said. "It's the first in a line of organic product Innovative plans to release."