Monthly Archives:: November 2016

Technology Helps Growers with Environmental Stewardship

environmental stewardship

Growers are often called stewards of the land, and with the supply and demand increasing at a rapid pace they are also looked upon to produce higher quantities of food and grain in the same amount of time, all while protecting the environment.

Thanks to today’s innovative technology, environmental concerns including soil erosion, animal welfare and nutrient runoff can be minimized or prevented.

Farms are becoming increasingly progressive and the use of technology has made farming practices more sustainable to the environment than we have ever seen in history.

Improvements in technology continue to help growers with their environmental stewardship efforts, including:

Precision Maps: Growers are using location-specific information about soil, nutrients, moisture and yield to help them make educated decisions about fertilizer placement and application levels. This contributes to smarter use of nutrients such as nitrogen, which helps reduce nitrogen runoff and leaching.

  • GPS: Today, most tractors and many other types of farming equipment are guided by GPS signals, improving the accuracy of their route for planting, fertilizing and harvesting crops.
  • Farm Equipment: Improved equipment features help growers work faster, but also smarter. Upgraded planter technology allows growers to adjust seed rates and plant multiple varieties throughout their fields without stopping their planter – improving the yield, but also allowing farmers to account for different soil types and conditions throughout their fields to improve environmental stewardship efforts. Tractors, combines and other equipment have been designed to be more fuel-efficient and operate with lower environmental footprints. Sprayers have been designed to provide more accurate product application and more efficient product usage to help farmers maximize the products they are using in their fields.
  • Soil Sensors and UAVs: Growers are also using sensors to measure moisture, chemical and biological properties in their soil and drones (UAVs) with cameras and sensors attached to them to help leverage environmental stewardship practices and improve crop yield to meet the growing demand for food production.
using precision maps to improve environmental stewardship

An Industry-wide Priority

Growers and ag business professionals know the importance of protecting our environment and leaving it in better condition for the future.

To recognize these efforts, many state organizations have implemented agricultural environmental leadership awards to annually highlight innovative farm practices throughout the country. National industry associations such as The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) have also implemented programs to recognize environmental leaders. Their 4R Advocates program encourages ag retailers to recognize their growers who are leading the way with exceptional nutrient stewardship practices. Winners are named 4R Advocates and help TFI share insight and success stories from the field level.

Environmental stewardship requires using fewer resources, developing new ideas and managing current resources provided by the environment to help protect the land. Protecting the world we live in is everybody’s responsibility, but farmers, ag retailers and ag industry professionals and trade organizations are proudly leading the way.

Original Source: Leaders of In-Furrow Technology, West Central

Seed Selection Considerations for Soybeans and Corn

seed-selection
Image courtesy United Soybean Board

There are a number of factors that need to be considered when selecting a seed variety, and it’s no easy task for growers these days. Below are some considerations for seed selection, for soybeans and for corn.

Soybeans

  1. When selecting soybean seed for the upcoming planting season, the first factor to take into account is the maturity rating of the soybean you’re selecting. Selecting a seed variety that’s well suited to your geography enables the crop to move through its lifecycle efficiently in a way that best matches its environment. Selecting the correct maturity rating allows the crop to take full advantage of the growing season in your area and helps maximize your yield potential.
    A bean with too early of a maturity rating for your geography can leave yield potential on the table by not taking advantage of the additional growing days. On the other hand, if you select a variety with too late of a maturity rating for your geography, you risk the beans not reaching physiological maturity before the frost. Knowing how a variety will work within your specific geographic conditions help strike a balance that will aid in procuring the highest potential yield for your crop.
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  3. Yield performance, what a specific variety is capable of producing in your geography, is also an important consideration when selecting seed. Advances in plant breeding and the genetics in available varieties are continually improving and pushing the yield potential higher and higher. As a grower, you should be trying to select varieties that are the best available, based on the maturity rating for their region as well as some of the following important factors.
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  5. Disease and pest tolerance is another critical consideration for maximizing yield. Diseases like white mold, sudden death syndrome (SDS) and soybean cyst nematode (SCN) can be better managed by selecting varieties with tolerance to such diseases.
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  7. It is also important to consider the potential for iron deficiency chlorosis (IDC) in your geography as you are selecting your seed. IDC can be a crippling situation, when growing soybeans in soils prone to IDC. Selecting a bean variety that performs better in IDC-prone soils can help tremendously on those affected acres.
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  9. A more recent, but very important determining factor in bean selection is the growing pressure of resistant weeds. If you have encountered weed-resistance problems personally or even if weed resistance is a problem in your area, you may want to consider the new traits available for soybean varieties. Over the last year, the industry has seen the emergence of 2, 4-D and dicamba tolerant traits. These traits offer the ability to apply a new class of herbicide chemistry to soybeans allowing growers to battle back against current weed resistance problems. The new herbicide chemistries are currently being approved or in the process of being approved by the EPA to be applied over the top of the new trait soybeans. The new soybean traits have the most advanced genetics package and have been reported in many cases to produce impressive yields across several maturity groups.

 

Corn

Corn hybrid selection comes with similar, but a slightly separate set of challenges.

  1. When selecting a corn hybrid, it is also important to consider the maturity rating of the hybrid for your growing region. You need to ask yourself if the specific hybrid that you are considering fits into your region’s maturity rating.Selecting a hybrid that fits into the growing degree days and maturity rating for your geography allows you to take advantage of the longest growing season to maximize your hybrid’s yield potential. Similar to soybeans, by selecting a hybrid with an earlier maturity means that you aren’t able to capitalize on all the potential growing days and might miss out on a higher yielding crop. Selecting too late of a maturity rating risks the chance of your crop not reaching physiological maturity before the first frost in your area.
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  3. Corn yields in the United States have been consistently increasing around two bushels per year, so you should always be seeking out and selecting hybrids that will help you achieve the best yield potential for your region. This is an important factor to revisit with new genetic packages available each year.
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  5. To help your crop perform to its best potential, you should consider disease and insect pressures in your area when making hybrid selections, including the potential for stalk rot, Northern Corn Leaf Blight, or Goss’s Wilt. By selecting a hybrid with tolerances to the diseases and insects that are the most prevalent in your geographic area, you will help your crop reach its maximum yield.
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  7. A fourth factor when considering corn hybrid selection is the standability of the hybrid. A hybrid’s ability to withstand lodging at your desired plant population is critical to achieving high yields.

As a grower, you work hard caring for your crop throughout the growing season. Make sure you maximize your yield and profit potential by keeping these considerations in mind as you make your selections for the upcoming season.
Original Source: Leaders of In-Furrow Technology, West Central

How Growers Can Overcome Low Commodity Prices

Dr. Fred BelowThere are many issues growers face in today’s agricultural industry. One rising to the top of the list is low commodity prices.

Growers across the country are facing the harsh reality of a decrease in income forecasted for the third straight year due to an extended decline in corn and soybean prices. According to the USDA, net cash farm income for 2016 is forecast at $94.1 billion, and net farm income at $71.5 billion – following the declines in 2015.

One way growers can help their profitability during this time is to make sure they are getting the best yield possible, so they simply have more crop to sell.

Growers should make sure they are maximizing their production practices to help capitalize on the best potential yield:

  • Proper soil preparation, prior to planting
  • Applying crop nutrients and fertilizers as appropriate to help with emergence and throughout the life of the plant
  • Applying crop protection products as appropriate to help combat disease, weeds and insects
  • Proper irrigation, as appropriate
  • Effective harvesting practices and techniques

Secondly, growers should make sure they are using these efforts in collaboration with the appropriate seed genetics to get the best yield they can, which will give them more bushels to sell at harvest time.

In this video clip from June 2016, Dr. Fred Below with University of Illinois, explains that low commodity prices are one of the most important issues facing agriculture today and explains how growers can best deal with this issue.

Transcript:
Low commodity prices are a real problem, and the only way I can see to overcome those is to be able to produce more. If the price is low I need to have more of it to sell. So, I don’t think I’m going to save myself to prosperity because that would imply that I’m wasting money.

I think it comes down to having the basics to production correct, and make sure you’re using those to get as much yield as you can out of today’s genetics.

Original Source: Leaders of In-Furrow Technology, West Central

Don’t Leave Fall Nitrogen Unstable

In the field applying nutrients

Nutrient management is as important in fall as it is at planting.

Growers considering a fall anhydrous ammonia application can take measures to make the most out of their fertilizer investment, while supporting nitrogen management best practices, says Eric Scherder, Ph.D., field scientist, Dow AgroSciences.

“Nitrogen isn’t a one-time event,” Scherder says. “There has to be forethought about how to manage it today and tomorrow.”

Growers who are serious about reducing nitrate loss into groundwater can take steps when making fall applications. These steps include evaluating application methods, paying attention to temperature and using a nitrogen stabilizer to reduce nitrate loss due to leaching and denitrification.

Important Considerations Before Fall Application

Soil Temp at 50 degrees or lessThere are best management practices growers can follow this fall to optimize fertilizer applications.

In the fall, let temperature drive timing. Fall nitrogen applications should be based on soil temperature, not calendar date, Scherder says. Wait to apply nitrogen until soil temperatures drop below 50 F.

Nitrosomonas bacteria, which converts ammonium nitrogen to the nitrate form that’s susceptible to loss, are active until soils reach freezing temperatures; however, their activity is significantly reduced once soil temperatures drop below 50 degrees,” Scherder says. “This is important to consider when making fall applications to protect that investment.”

To learn more about nutrient management visit with our agronomy team today.

Balancing Grain Drying and Propane Storage Needs

Right-size your propane tank

The 2016 harvest season has been one for the books with the USDA expecting farmers to harvest record amounts of corn and soybeans. These record yields highlight the fact that modern farming operations are bigger than ever – both in acreage and bushels.

During the busiest times of harvest, the number one question farmers ask themselves is how much crop they can take off each day – and if they have the appropriate resources to dry and store it. A cool, wet and windy fall has resulted in farmers harvesting corn at higher, moister levels than originally anticipated. This has increased pressure on grain dryers and localized propane supplies.

Although the last few weeks of harvest can be hectic, it is also the best time to evaluate how efficiently grain is moving through your operation and identify any areas that might need improvements in 2017.

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CHS posts fiscal 2016 earnings of $424.2 million

2016 Harvest

ST. PAUL, MINN. (Nov. 3, 2016) – CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, today announced earnings for fiscal 2016 of $424.2 million.

CHS net income for fiscal 2016 (Sept. 1, 2015 – Aug. 31, 2016) of $424.2 million was down 46 percent from $781.0 million for fiscal 2015, reflecting lower pre-tax earnings within the company’s Energy and Ag segments, as well as its Corporate and Other category. Lower pre-tax earnings within these two segments were partly offset by increased pretax earnings in its Foods segment, and seven months of earnings from its Nitrogen Production segment which was created by the February 2016 strategic investment CHS made in CF Industries Nitrogen, LLC (CF Nitrogen). These results reflect the continued economic down cycle in the company’s core energy and agriculture businesses, as well as the impact of one-time events.

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