Refined Borate: The Key Ingredient in Fertilizer Blends for Customer Loyalty

:: Thursday, January 18, 2018
Initial nutrient price isn’t the only—or the best—way to determine the value of the borates you choose for your blends. The question isn’t which borates are least expensive, but what is the true cost of using cheap mineral borates?
When you glance at your watch, what do you think about? Most of us think only about what time it is. We don’t stop to consider that inside a watch is a complex system of interconnected parts all working together to produce the time display.
In agriculture, the proper use of fertilizers is very much like that watch. Fertilizer producers and farmers know that like a watch, crop yield and profit rely on many interconnected parts. And like your watch, if one of those components—even a small one—is missing, the whole crop will not yield its potential, will be easier for pests to damage, or may even fail altogether.

Boron: The critical gearwheel that makes fertilization work like a well-tuned machine

Today, agriculture professionals commonly understand that boron is a micronutrient that is essential for optimization of crop health and yield. Boron deficiency is the second most common micronutrient deficiency problem in the world, and it’s a major concern because adequate boron is necessary for proper absorption of macronutrients.

If plants are deficient in boron, they cannot adequately absorb the macronutrients that are in fertilizer mixtures. Boron is essential to support the nutrition of the entire plant.

Half a century of scientific research in laboratories, greenhouses, and field studies has proven that boron plays a critical role in supporting the structure of plant cell walls, membrane function, stimulation or inhibition of specific metabolic pathways, and flowering and fruit development.
Modern farmers increasingly look to their fertilizer providers—manufacturers and distributors—to provide targeted solutions that will optimize yield and profits. To fulfill that expectation, it’s important for fertilizer producers and their customers to understand that the quality of boron is what ultimately determines whether that gearwheel in the machinery works or fails.

Fertilizer producers can help farmers get significantly better results from their fertilizer products by encouraging them to judge the quality of fertilizer ingredients using the 4Rs.

Refined borates are superior to raw-mineral, non-refined borates

More farmers have realized the importance of boron, but to save costs, some are opting to use raw-mineral, non-refined forms of boron instead of refined borates.
Unfortunately, raw, non-refined mineral borates are not fully soluble, have uneven and uncontrolled release rates, and often contain impurities including harmful heavy metals such as arsenic.
In contrast, refined pure boron products such as Granubor are:
  • 100% soluble in water
  • Free from impurities
  • Released steadily over time during the most important crop growth stages

This means that when farmers use fertilizers containing refined borates from U.S. Borax, which are more soluble and release steadily over time, they get better results: healthier plants, higher yield, and more profit.

The overall result is that using refined borates from U.S. Borax instead of raw, non-refined mineral boron sources isn’t a higher cost; refined products deliver better value for the investment.


Better Farming Results, Better Business

Increasingly, farmers look to fertilizer providers as consultants and partners in their success, as a part of the greater community of agriculture professionals. And farmers have high expectations that the products they buy will contribute to their profitability. Fertilizer producers that help farmers ensure they have all the right components in place will earn their customers’ trust and loyalty.


U.S. Borax, part of Rio Tinto, is a global leader in the supply and science of borates—naturally-occurring minerals containing boron and other elements. We are 1,000 people serving 650 customers with more than 1,800 delivery locations globally. We supply around 30% of the world’s need for refined borates from our world-class mine in Boron, California, about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Learn more about Rio Tinto.

Copyright © 2024 Rio Tinto. All Rights Reserved.