Q&A WITH Brian Thompson

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1What has changed about the Early Order Program (EOP) this year and how are those changes helping to streamline the process from start to finish?

We started the process a year ago to make the purchasing, planning and outlining of these products easy for our customers. We took our products outside of cubes and made them available in an á la carte fashion.

Additionally, we’re extending year-round rebates at a lower threshold than years past. Previously, if a customer bought at the $35,000 level, it awarded 10% year-round rebates. This year, at the $25,000 level, we’re extending a 7% year-round rebate. This allows the customer to defer some of those in-season purchases and to buy at a lower level in EOP and still have the ability to get year-round rebates. I think that’s a good way to extend additional flexibility for our customers depending on the challenges they may be facing.

Another big enhancement that we’re able to offer this year is a more robust online digital calculator that allows our customers to formulate their decisions to suit the diseases, pathogens and pressures they face and allows them to buy in the quantities they need.

2What makes your EOP calculator such an important tool for DSRs and turf professionals?

It allows customers to archive their purchases and it’s fewer steps for them to go through to understand the products they’ve previously used [while being] able to take inventory and understand what products may be best for the upcoming season. It also allows a customer or DSR to put these products, inventories and quantities together to fit a program. Matching the right product at the right rate at the right time for the right surfaces gives [the customer] a guide. We all know superintendents face many challenges — whatever we can do to make their jobs easier and allow them to focus their skills and talents is a win-win for everybody.

3Which products are new to EOP this year and how do they add value to a program’s rotation?

This year, we’re entering the first EOP where we’ve had a full season of Maxtima [fungicide] and Navicon [Intrinsic brand fungicide]. In discussions with many superintendents, it’s been a difficult season in terms of moisture challenges, with many parts of the country being dry, many parts of the country being hot — disease pressure has been above average. It’s been a good year to test how well our new innovations have performed during the 2020 growing season.

[They provide] very strong protection, from dollar spot to anthracnose to take-all root rot. We can now bring forward these new-generation DMIs to unlock a great rotation program that allows our customers to be successful not only managing turf health and preventing and keeping disease at bay but also managing turf health long term while understanding resistance management. Having Maxtima [fungicide] and Navicon [Intrinsic brand fungicide] as new innovations to bring into the program is key and they’ve proven their worth this past year.

4How does EOP help turf professionals save on top innovations?

You’re looking at upwards of 24% savings on a lot of these key innovative products. When you look at the cost-per-day of control on a lot of these products, they’re affording customers a lot of utility. I like to look at our products as being essential to the viability of an agronomic program from a disease control standpoint. Our products, because of their longevity and their broad spectrum control, are really cornerstone products. If you’re going to utilize these products, it’s best to buy them at the time when you can leverage the most savings.

5When is the best time for turf professionals to order products so they can take advantage of these savings?

October is when we heighten the rebates, and I think it’s been an evolution of how EOP has been coordinated — the early bird gets the worm. It not only allows these customers an opportunity to shore up their products for the upcoming growing season but [also], in many cases, they can get an additional 6 to 10 percent of their rebate if they make these selections in October. For more information visit, betterturf.basf.us/eop.